Labor shortage slows movement of goods at port just before holidays

Global Business

A worker shortage is a real possibility at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. Managers are accusing dockworkers of slowing operations to gain leverage during labor negotiations. CCTV America’s YaKenda McGahee reported this story from Los Angeles.

Labor shortage slows movement of goods at Los Angeles port just before holidays

A worker shortage is a real possibility at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. Managers are accusing dockworkers of slowing operations to gain leverage during labor negotiations. CCTV America's YaKenda McGahee reported this story from Los Angeles.

The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, located less than five miles apart, are the busiest in the entire western hemisphere, with goods arriving from Asia, the Pacific Rim, and China.

“Between Los Angeles and Long Beach, we bring a little over 40 percent of all the containerized goods coming into the United States,” said Phillip Sanfield, a spokesperson for the Port of Los Angeles.

Right now however, many of these goods are coming in, but are not getting out as they experience the worst delays in a decade due to a surge in imports, a shortage of truck trailers, labor disputes, and a surplus of larger ships hauling larger loads. This is all happening at the beginning of the holiday shipping season.

“We have had some congestion here in the last few months,” said Sanfield. “Today, we’ve probably got about eight to 10 cargo vessels offshore waiting to come into the port. That’s unusual. Usually, we have none.”

Target, Costco and Home Depot are three of the top five importers by volume. Some retailers have already made costly contingency plans to ensure merchandise will reach stores for the holidays.

“The current congestion at west coast ports has eviscerated those preparations, which may cause critical merchandise to miss target on-sale dates,” the National Retail Federation said in a statement.

Toy manufacturers are especially vulnerable.

“Half of the toy industry’s $22 billion annual sales are generated in the fourth quarter,” said Ed Desmond, the Toy Industry Association’s executive vice president of external affairs. “We cannot stress enough how important it is that the congestion at these ports is alleviated immediately.”