Georgia’s ports extend their role for carmakers

The linked ports of Brunswick and Savannah in Georgia, in the south-east US, are playing a growing role in the supply chain of North America’s leading vehicle manufacturers, delegates at the Georgia Foreign Trade Conference were told recently.

Speaking at the event, Kia announced it was to start dispatching its new, eight-person Telluride SUV from the port of Brunswick this month. The South Korean OEM has been using Savannah to ship parts in since 2009, when Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) first began assembling vehicles at West Point for the domestic US market. Both Brunswick and Savannah are operated by the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA).

“From the support we receive from GPA with our inbound parts from our global supply chain to supporting our export of finished vehicles to current and future markets, GPA will play an important role,” said Stuart Countess, KMMG’s chief administrative officer and vice-president.

“[Kia’s] decision to export the Telluride via Brunswick highlights the benefits of having North America’s largest container port and largest autoport within 85 miles [136km] of each other,” commented Griff Lynch, executive director of the GPA. 

Speaking at the same event, Mark Boucher, director of vehicle logistics for Volkswagen Group of America, outlined Savannah’s role in handling parts destined for VW’s Chattanooga plant and Brunswick’s in handling exports of the Passat and Atlas.

Boucher said VW would soon launch a new version of the Passat and that the company had “robust plans” to deliver the Atlas to more than 30 export destinations this year.

Jay Johnson, intercontinental logistics specialist for Volkswagen, who oversees the import of parts supplying Chattanooga, said: “We continue to build our partnership as our needs change and as the GPA continues to add more logistics value by improvements.”

Gerry Lee, vice-president of planning and logistics for Subaru of America, meanwhile, said Subaru relied on the GPA to import its Forester, Crosstrek, WRX and BRZ models. “The port of Brunswick is the right fit for Subaru’s vehicle supply chain because it is a great location to support the retailers in our Atlanta and Orlando sales zones,” said Lee. 

GPA also highlighted its operations for General Motors and Mercedes-Benz at the event.

Parts for GM’s Acadia SUV, built at Spring Hill, Tennessee, come in via Savannah and, starting this year, GM will export around 12,000 Acadia SUVs through Ocean Terminal, it said. Parts are also imported through Savannah for Mercedes-Benz’s plant in Vance, Alabama, while its finished vehicles are exported via Brunswick.

Last October, GPA announced it was to add 24 hectares (60 acres) to create 8,250 car parking spaces and support vehicle handling at Brunswick. The port authority is also doubling dockside rail capacity for building loads for inland distribution.

11 February 2019 | Steve Garnsey | Supply Chain Dive

Ports, global trade on the front lines of climate change

Dive Brief:

  • Officials at the COP24 global climate summit in Poland are sounding the alarm about the susceptibility of coastal ports to climate change, according to World Maritime News.
  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) chief of policy and legislation Regina Asariotis said during the summit that since coastlines could be some of the most affected areas, global trade is likely to be greatly affected as it relies so heavily on ports.
  • UNCTAD put the burden of responding to climate change on all countries and actors who rely on ocean shipping for trade, especially calling out developing nations whose economies are more vulnerable. Asariotis said policymakers are not currently moving fast enough to address the problem.

Dive Insight:

The COP24 meeting is driving a renewed focus on actions both private and public sector actors can take. Adding to the urgency is a recent International Energy Agency report stating that countries with advanced economies (North America, the European Union and parts of Asia) have actually increased their carbon emissions in 2018 after five years of decline.

With rising tides and more volatile weather a certainty according to the global scientific community, ports are likely to be some of the first supply chain infrastructures to feel the effects of climate change. Last month’s U.S. National Climate Assessment warned that ports can expect “land sinking” as tides rise by one to four feet by 2100. Rising tides could also lead to clearance issues.

Asariotis made a point that is becoming more common as the threat of climate change comes into focus: Industry cannot wait for regulation to force it away from the status quo. Asariotis put the responsibility on all players involved in ocean shipping to prepare for and prevent what climate change effects can be mitigated.

Though all ocean carriers are already required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to cut their sulfur emissions by 2020, there are no such restrictions around carbon. A.P. Moller – Maersk is the first carrier to pledge to attempt carbon neutrality by 2050, though it emphasized in its announcement last week the vessel technology needed to meet that goal does not yet exist.

12 December 2018 | Emma Cosgrove | Supply Chain Dive

As cargo peaks, port stakeholders worry tariffs may lead to a trough

Dive Brief:

  • Record growth at the Port of Oakland may not last past January, if the effects of tit-for-tat tariffs set in during 2019, the port said in a press release reviewing a meeting of its Efficiency Task Force.
  • The Task Force said West Coast imports are growing at an unprecedented level, causing warehouses to fill up and shipping lines to add more than 30 Transpacific voyages to transport large volumes. The surge is due to a strong economy and peak season, but could also be because of “frontloading.”
  • “Imports are a good story, but the reason for the growth is still something of a mystery,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said in a statement. “We suspect frontloading is part of the answer.”

Dive Insight:

Frontloading has been a part of the tariff conversation since the summer, but its effects remain far from clear.

At the onset of the first few rounds of tariffs — on steel and aluminum and $50 billion worth of Chinese goods — analysts predicted ports would see peak season come early, as retailers rushed to import goods before the tariffs set in. July and August were indeed record months, according to port data, but retail imports never peaked.

By contrast, even as the third, and so far largest, round of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods entered force on Sept. 24, imports from China continued to surge. In October, China exported $42.7 billion worth of goods to the United States — a 13.3% annual increase.

“Front-loading export activities should continue in November and December,” Iris Pang, economist with ING, wrote in an analysis. “Export growth data will continue to be stronger than in previous holiday seasons.”

But what the Port of Oakland Efficiency Task Force wanted to know is: for how long? Strong trade, warehouse and vessel utilization is good for supply chain stakeholders, but could it come with a sting in the form of a severe drop in 2019?

The Port of Oakland has in recent months been hit hard by tariffs — those imposed by China on U.S. wastepaper. The port said while its import volume from China was up 5% over 2017, its exports to China had fallen 33% in 2018.

China has been cracking down on imports of scrap from the U.S. since at least November 2017, affecting not just wastepaper, but at least 30 other export categories. With over a year to settle into the new rules of trade, supply chains have adapted, shifting their networks to include countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

The wastepaper experience sheds light on how tariffs, if unresolved for long, may ultimately alter sourcing networks, and therefore port and container volumes.

In that sense, supply chain stakeholders — like land-side trucking companies, warehouses and ports — have the most to lose if the import surge in 2018 turns out to be a red herring of growth, and instead becomes a forefather to general volume declines.

Meanwhile, one group of stakeholders appears to be benefiting from the temporary tariff situation: ocean shipping lines. In a note, titled, “Thank You, Mr. President?”, Drewry Maritime Consultants wrote that Transpacific trade is again a “money printing factory for carriers.”

An import surge has led to higher rates and full ships, a good trend for carriers. “A lot of the sudden cargo rush was attributed to US President Donald Trump’s imposition on a whole range of Chinese goods, which came into effect 24 September and spurred American importers to bring forward supplies,” the analysts wrote.

13 November 2018 | Edwin Lopez | Supply Chain Dive

East Coast ports brace for Hurricane Florence

Dive Brief:

  • The Coast Guard, along with the captains at each port, have designated the Ports of Wilmington and Charleston in North and South Carolina, respectively, at condition “X-Ray,” meaning gale force winds are expected within 48 hours. The ports of Norfolk and Savannah remain at condition ‘Whiskey,’ but will almost surely advance as the storm moves closer.
  • Multiple reports indicate Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina will all be closed after the gates close this evening. “Whatever is not moving out of Charlestown today — forget about it,” said Mark Bartmann, senior director of sea freight drayage solutions at Kuehne + Nagel.
  • South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered a mandatory evacuation for all of the state’s coastal counties beginning Wednesday Sept. 12 at noon. Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency.
The Coast Guard’s port conditions determine when East Coast ports close ahead of Florence
Whiskey Gale force winds are expected to arrive at the port within 72 hours. Port remains open to all commercial traffic.
X-Ray Gale force winds are expected within 48 hours. Port remains open to all commercial traffic.
Yankee Gale force winds predicted within 24 hours Vessels seeking to depart must arrange immediate departure.
Zulu Gale force winds within 12 hours. The port is closed.

SOURCE: Trade Winds

Dive Insight:

“This could be the first category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the Carolinas since Hurricane Hugo [in 1989],” said Governeor McMaster in a televised briefing impressing upon South Carolinians to obey mandatory evacuation orders on Monday.

Ports are staying open extra hours to move product out, especially a concern in South Carolina where major arteries will become one-way away from the coast starting at noon Sept. 12, and roadways will become clogged as the evacuation order goes into effect. “There’s no way we’re sending truckloads on back roads,” he said.

Though not all of these affected ports have made formal announcements, Bartmann said to expect them to close beginning Tuesday evening until at least Friday, but most likely Monday. His largest concern is that the storm will swing North and douse the Port of Norfolk and even the Port of Baltimore.

“Norfolk could be affected harder because if the storm moves north, then there could be an enormous amount of rainfall similar to Harvey,”said Bartmann.

These East Coast ports have grown in significance in recent years — the Port of Charleston had the highest monthly container volume in its history on Monday, handling 177,728 TEUs.

Though September is usually peak season, reports indicate shippers brought in their major shipments early to avoid tariffs. Still, should Florence reach a category five as some say it will, it could be much more disruptive to U.S. supply chains than Hugo before it.

11 September 2018 | Emma Cosgrove

Industry Pulse: Ports set records as ocean freight rates rise

Dive Brief:

  • Ocean freight rates between China and ports on both U.S. coasts rebounded in May, increasing 28.04% from April on West Coast routes and 15.45% on East Coast routes, according to data from Freightos.
  • While rates are up compared to the previous month, they are still lower than ocean freight rates in May 2017.
  • Imports on West Coast ports also picked up after a slump in March, rising nearly 21% but still coming in lower than the beginning of 2018.
Rates rebound in May 2018.
Credit: Shefali Kapadia / Supply Chain Dive, data from Freightos

Dive Insight:

The year 2018 has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for ocean freight between China and the U.S. Rates initially spiked, largely attributed to the Chinese New Year, then fell sharply following the holiday and now are gaining steam once again.

The upward trend in ocean shipping rates is continuing into June, with rates rising steadily on West Coast and East Coast routes.

So far, political tensions between the U.S. and China haven’t appeared to hamper trade growth. Most West Coast ports are seeing growth, with the Port of Oakland having  “the best April ever for imports in its 91-year history.”

In addition, the Port of Long Beach saw 16% growth in import volumes between April and May and “had the busiest May in its 107-year history,” according to a press release. The port attributed the volume growth to a strong U.S. economy and e-commerce. Long Beach expects volumes to continue rising into the peak summer months, which are typically busy “as retailers stock up for the holidays.”

The ports don’t seem to be adjusting their forecasts to account for tariffs between the U.S. and China. Tariffs on more than 1,000 Chinese goods imported to the U.S. will go into effect July 6, with China promising tariffs of the same value on U.S. imports.

18 June 2018 | Shefali Kapadia | Supply Chain Dive

U.S. ports need $20B of infrastructure, authority says

Dive Brief:

  • In The State of Freight III, the latest report from the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) addressing the adequacy of transportation infrastructure in and out of U.S. ports, the association projected a $20 billion investment need for multimodal port and rail access projects during the next 10 years because of growing populations and the increasing volume of goods that need to be moved.
  • According to the association’s survey, improved and expanded rail access is a priority for ports, with more than 30% reporting that they have identified critical $50-million-plus rail projects. In addition, 77% are planning on-dock, near-dock or other rail access projects in the next decade, as rail provides an “efficient and speedy method of moving cargo out of congested areas to distribution centers.”
  • There are obstacles, however, to achieving the necessary level of infrastructure investment, according to the association. One hurdle is that out of $11 billion in FAST Act freight funding, only $1.1 billion was allocated to multimodal projects. In addition, ports and their private-industry partners plan to invest $155 billion into port infrastructure during the next five years, although the relevant government entities, in many cases, have not invested in the necessary connections “outside the gates.” The association called on the federal government to help eliminate funding and access barriers.

Dive Insight:

The ability to accommodate the larger ships that can now pass through the Panama Canal — after crews completed the expansion of a shipping lane back in 2016 — is one of the driving forces behind U.S. port expansion projects. The Port of Miami was the first U.S. port to be able to handle full loads arriving on these “new Panamax” or “post-Panamax” ships after a $1.3 billion overhaul of its facilities, according to the Miami Herald. This included the installation of new cranes, dredging shipping channels to more than 50 feet deep and the completion of rail projects that now connect the port to nearby rail yards.

Similarly, the Port of Long Beach’s $4.5 billion capital plan includes an on-dock rail facility that will allow cargo to be loaded directly onto trains located at marine terminals.

For ports that aren’t yet ready to welcome these new, larger ships, Dick Slater, vice president and project executive at Moss, told Construction Dive in August that there are workarounds. Accepting ships with only partial loads, which make the vessels lighter and better able to navigate shallower channels, is one example. But deeper channels, more berth space and a revamp of other port infrastructure is unavoidable for those ports that want to compete in a post-Panamax world.

11 June 2018 | Kim Slowey | Supply Chain Dive

East Coast ports to see 6-year labor peace as ILA, USMX strike deal

Dive Brief:

  • The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) announced Wednesday the parties struck a tentative deal for a new, six-year master contract.
  • The deal follows two-days of talks at Delray Beach, Florida, where more than 200 members of the ILA met with the East Coast port employer representatives to discuss a contract renewal well before the current pact expired on September 30, 2018.
  • Now, local chapters of the ILA and individual port authorities have been instructed to reach individual deals to supplement the master contract by July 10. At that point, the ILA and USMX will subject the master contract to “full membership ratification votes.”

Dive Insight:

Talks, so far, had been testy at best between East Coast ports and unions. As is typical of negotiations, both sides first reached the table with a long list of demands that seemed untenable to the other party. The ILA, at one point, broke off talks with the port employers’ association over USMX demands the union allow fully automated ports.

But over time, and with pressure from shippers to reach a deal in advance of the present contract’s expiry, “intensive bargaining” led to a deal. The terms of the new master contract have yet to be released.

The deal is still tentative, and labor bargains at the local level have the potential to be even more tenuous.

Just last month, the ILA said its chapter at the ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington may retire from the master contract altogether, to give the union flexibility to recapture jobs on the Delaware River.

The news is a good sign for shippers and port employers, as it shows the union is willing to find solutions at the local level that do not sacrifice the master contract altogether.

But it could also lead to a further divergence among East Coast ports, between those that are union-run but benefiting from labor piece, and others with more tumultuous relationships.

07 June 2018 | Edwin Lopez | Supply Chain Dive

These 10 U.S. Seaports’ Exports Are Growing The Most This Year, And Here’s Why

2017 will go down as a good year for U.S. trade growth, but that’s coming on the heels of a rarity — two successive years of decline, something that had only happened once before in at least a quarter century.

Here is a look at the 10 U.S. seaports where exports have grown the most this year, with the top five outbound shipments for each. I will follow in the coming days with a look at the top airports and the top border crossings for exports and then tackle the imports for all three.

All told, there are more than 450 of these “ports” for international goods to enter and exit the United States. While total U.S. exports are up 6.13% this year, exports by ocean are up 10.98%. Air cargo trade, whether in the belly of passenger planes or on so-called freighters, is up 6.11% and border crossings, whether via truck, rail or pipeline, is up 2.02%. Ocean trade, by value, makes up 33.68 percent of all U.S. exports.

On the import side, overall U.S. imports are up 6.75% while ocean-borne shipments are up 7.51%. The value of air cargo is up 6.14% while border trade is up 6.08%. On the import side, 46.20% of all U.S. trade is via ship. All of the data is based on analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, which is through October, as analyzed by the company where I serve as president, WorldCity.

Eight of the 10 ports with the greatest increase in the value of their exports this year can attribute those gains to rebounding prices in the energy sector — just as they could attribute their losses in recent years to that same sector — and, to a lesser extent, the chemical industry. Four of the top 10 are in Texas and four are in Louisiana.

  1. Topping the list is Port Houston, which has seen the value of trade attributed to the port increase $6.16 billion. Here’s a look at the top five exports:
  • Gasoline and other refined petroleum products rose 27.05% compared to last year to $14.76 billion.
  • LNG, or petroleum-based gases 47.73% to $6.44 billion.
  • Plastics rose 2.68% to $2.57 billion.
  • Oil rose 137.55% to $2.05 billion.
  • Ethers and related exports rose 16.34% to $1.73 billion.

2. Exports from the Port of Corpus Christi have grown the second most this year, up $4.69 billion. It’s top five exports:

  • Gasoline rose 9.05% to $5.4 billion.
  • Oil rose 355.48% to $4.52 billion.
  • Halogenated derivatives of hydrocarbons rose 24.35% to $491.65 million.
  • Grain sorghum rose 23.73% to $329.9 million.
  • Cyclic hydrocarbons rose 18.59% to $322.51 million.

3. Exports from Beaumont, Texas have increased $3.16 billion. Its top five exports thus far in 2017:

  • Oil rose 309.61% to $2.95 billion.
  • Gasoline rose 21.58% to $2.54 billion.
  • LNG, etc., rose 81.2% to $1.42 billion.
  • Ethers, etc., fell 6.19% to $303.71 million.
  • Cyclic hydrocarbons fell 1.66% to $136.17 million.

4. Exports from the Port of Los Angeles have increased $2.53 billion — and it doesn’t have to do with the energy sector:

  • Cotton rose 73.39% to $1.49 billion.
  • Frozen beef rose 72.95% to $894.06 million.
  • Motor vehicle parts rose 19.19% to $872.45 million.
  • Almonds and similar nuts rose 23.42% to $841.5 million.
  • Motor vehicles for transporting people rose 14.13% to $594.2 million.

5. Exports from the Southern Louisiana ports around Gramercy have increased $2.32 billion. It is an oil story:

  • Soybeans fell 2.51% to $3.98 billion.
  • Gasoline rose 2.87% to $3.26 billion.
  • Oil rose 886.35% to $1.85 billion.
  • Corn rose 5.96% to $1.53 billion.
  • Coal, briquettes rose 146.61% to $325.52 million.

6. The Port of New Orleans is sixth on the list, its exports up $2.27 billion. Its top five exports:

  • Gasoline rose 47.71% to $5.81 billion.
  • Soybeans fell 7.63% to $3.82 billion.
  • Civilian aircraft and parts rose 16.85% to $3.51 billion.
  • Computer chips fell 28.29% to $2.5 billion.
  • Corn fell 12.98% to $2.41 billion.

7. Exports from Lake Charles, La., have increased $1.99 billion through October. Its growth is largely related to LNG, or liquid natural gas:

  • Gasoline rose 25.25% to $2.43 billion.
  • LNG, etc., rose 236.66% to $1.83 billion.
  • Sodium or potassium hydroxide or peroxide rose 75.03% to $173.66 million.
  • Petroleum products rose 25.71% to $157.84 million.
  • Cyclic hydrocarbons fell 7.22% to $138.23 million.

8. Exports from Baton Rouge, La., are up $1.78 billion, with soybeans joining gasoline and other refined petroleum products as a big gainer:

  • Gasoline rose 70.19% to $1.95 billion.
  • Soybeans rose 35.27% to $1.37 billion.
  • Corn rose 9.55% to $510.05 million.
  • Soybean oilcake, other solid residue, rose 44.04% to $393.46 million.
  • Acyclic alcohols rose 24.64% to $309.33 million.

9. The Port of Savannah is the second port on the list not tied to the energy sector, the other being the Port of Los Angeles. Savannah’s exports have increased $1.55 billion this year, with outbound shipments of cotton leading the way:

  • Motor vehicles for transporting people fell 1.28% to $1.45 billion.
  • Chemical wood pulp, fell 2.24 percent compared to last year to $1.11 billion.
  • Civilian aircraft, parts fell 15.73 percent compared to last year to $930.82 million.
  • Cotton rose 55.86% to $909.3 million.
  • Misc. uncoated kraft paper, paperboard rose 16.35% to $786.09 million.

10. Freeport’s exports have increased $1.48 billion in 2017, with the top five exports:

  • LNG, etc. have totaled $1.21 billion. The previous year, there were no exports in this category.
  • Motor vehicles for transporting people fell 30.19% to $797.74 million.
  • Oil rose 285.15% to $761.09 million.
  • Sodium or potassium hydroxide or peroxide rose 49.15% to $260.88 million.
  • Polyethers, epoxides and polyesters fell 17.7% to $125.07 million.

Seven of these 10 are also the fastest-growing major seaports, by percentage gain. Lake Charles, Beaumont and Corpus Christi all grew more than 60% through the first 10 months of the year. Freeport’s exports are up 57.90% while Baton Rouge is up more than 40%.

12 December 2017 | Ken Roberts | Forbes

Shippers: ILA strike would cause undue harm to US economy

Dive Brief:

  • The Agriculture Transportation Council, The National Retail Federation, and the National Industrial Transportation League have all expressed deep concern regarding the pending International Longshormen’s Association (ILA) strike, American Shipper reported Friday.
  • Whether through issued statements or by letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, each group predicts irreversible harm and lost business to foreign competition as a result of any port shutdowns.
  • In particular, the National Industrial Transportation League is urging both the ILA and the USMX to resolve their differences to avoid negatively impacting U.S. workers and their employers seeking to maintain a competitive shipping schedule to global customers.

Dive Insight:

With talks of a potential East Coast and Gulf Coast shutdown being threatened within the next 30 days by the ILA, shippers and others affected by the possibility are beginning to fear the economic consequences. The last shutdown closed ports on the West Coast for 10 days in 2014 due to delayed contract negotiations by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and their employers, and is estimated to have cost the U.S. economy approximately $1.9 billion per day.

“Thousands of companies and millions of workers rely on these ports and any disruption to their activity even for a day could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jon Gold said in a press release. The Port of New York and New Jersey alone handles roughly $547 million in goods each day, Hellenic Shipping News reports, and the indirect costs of a general shutdown would likely extend for various days.

The issues driving members of the ILA seem rooted in frustration, not only about automation replacing jobs, but about the Port of Charleston using non-union labor, and the Port of New Jersey suffering from unnecessary oversight which in turn hampers business. The New Jersey issue was nearly resolved two years ago, when state senators voted 75-0 to eliminate the troublesome Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, only to fail when vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

Though recent talks between the ILA and the USMX have been called productive by both sides, the ILA appears poised to use its leverage for not just a strike, but also a march on the nation’s capital. No dates have yet been set for either a strike or a march, despite rising coverage. Information regarding both has come only through an ILA press release by a PR firm, although no official release has been posted on the union’s website.

ILA plans to shut down East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, march on Washington

Dive Brief:

  • The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) called for a shutdown of U.S. East and Gulf Coast ports and a daylong march on Washington, D.C., to protest the loss of longshoring jobs and its effect on the economy, according to a press release published on The Maritime Executive. A date will be announced next week.
  • The ILA has yet to publish the press release on its website, drawing doubts over whether the protest was officially sanctioned, according to American Shipper. However, further reporting by the magazine found the protest may be held in the next 30 days, and according to one ILA leader in Charleston, SC, was sanctioned.
  • The press release states the ILA seeks to protest overregulation and job loss, calling out the South Carolina Ports Authority and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for hiring practices. ILA members process $200 million worth of goods annually at the Port of New York and New Jersey, per the release.

Dive Insight:

The latest news caps a month of activity from the ILA in advance of the 2018 contract talks between the workers’ union and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents their port employers.

A month ago, the ILA forced a slowdown at the Port of Charleston to protest increased automation and the non-ILA workers being hired to operate the new technology. The two sides met last week for informal talks ahead of the official negotiations, after which the ILA predicted two main issues would dominate the talks: the role of automation in job loss and the fulfillment of local contracts prior to the Master Contract’s conclusion.

Yet, though both sides described the talks as fruitful the ILA shows no signs it will stop flexing its muscles ahead of further talks. The union participated in an international demonstration in favor of workers at the Port of Algeciras, in Spain this week, and its recent announcement of an east coast port shutdown could cost the nation millions of dollars due to a supply chain slowdown.

A date has yet to be set, but supply chain managers should watch carefully and attempt to move inbound cargo out, or make other adjustments in expectation of port congestion. Even a one-day protest, if successful, could lead to a various-day congestion at ports — in addition to the surface traffic congestion that could be caused by adding at least two-days’ worth of freight traffic on a the already busy I-95 corridor.

At present, no statement has been issued by the Port of New York and New Jersey or the South Carolina Ports Authority on plans to mitigate the disruption.