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West Coast Dispute ‘Leads to Structural Shift in Cargo’

(Linton Nightingale – Lloyd’s Loading List)

Despite cargo operations returning to levels near normal at U.S. west coast ports following months of disruption amid its long-running labour dispute, there are signs that some shippers have moved to permanently divert cargo to Atlantic coast and Canadian ports as a result of the nine-month impasse, according to analysts.

A new study conducted by SeaIntel concluded that although preliminary volume figures for April suggest the situation has stabilised on the west coast, throughput numbers are lower than expected when considering overall growth rates across the U.S. and previous trade patterns.

The three Pacific southwest ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland handled combined volumes of 2.1m teu in April, down 38,000 teu on year, but also 45,000 teu less than what should be expected if the growth rate had been the same as during the first quarter of the year, noted SeaIntel. Click here to read more.