Longshore union approves labor contract

A move that ends the labor strife at West Coast ports comes too late for Portland.

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A move that ends the labor strife for West Coast ports came late last week as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union agreed to a contract with the Pacific Maritime Association.

But the resolution is likely too late for the Port of Portland, which lost its largest clients during the labor negotiations.

From the Associated Press:

Ships sat at West Coast ports for weeks during the work slowdowns. The Port of Portland’s activity at Terminal 6 became so unstable that two of its three shipping lines withdrew service permanently, taking nearly all of the container terminal’s business with it.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union voted 82 percent in favor of the deal, according to spokesman Craig Merrilees. Union leaders had reached a tentative deal in February with the companies that own massive oceangoing ships that bring cargo to and from ports and operate the terminals where that cargo is loaded and unloaded.

The Portland Business Journal wrote about the economic impact:

The dispute had led to a 13 percent drop in port container counts in Washington. Activity at East and Gulf Coast ports has grown by 12 percent and 20 percent, according to the Journal of Commerce.

At the same time, the shipper Hanjin said it will leave the Port of Portland, levying a glancing blow to the region’s trade prospects.

RELATED NEWS: How Oregon Will Survive the Loss of Hanjin