Port LA/Long Beach strike ends, easing intermodal crunch

Written by Douglas John Bowen

Striking workers were set to return to work Wednesday at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, after an eight-day job action which severely affected up to 40% of the nation's import goods flow.

Reopening of the twin ports should restore normal ship-to-rail intermodal flows to the nation’s freight rail network within a few days.

Details were yet to be released Wednesday on the resolution, involving the two ports and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 members and terminal operators. The deal also has yet to be ratified.

The strike began Nov. 27 as the union protested what it claims is job outsourcing to other locations in the U.S. and worldwide. The Harbor Employers Association has denied the charge.

The union local was supported by the 10,000 regional members of the ILWU, which honored the picket line and refused to work. The strike shut down 10 of the 14 cargo container terminals in the two ports.

With some container ships stranded at dockside, and others waiting offshore pending a resolution of the strike, shipping companies had begun weighing options for delivering goods, including rerouting ships in transit to other West Coast ports, and even diverting other ships to Gulf Coast and East Coast locations.

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