PMA and ILWU Seek Federal Mediation in Labor Talks

According to the JOC, “The FMCS (Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service) announced late Monday that both the PMA and ILWU had requested mediation, which is the key requirement for involvement by the federal agency.” Port Directors, importers, and exporters proclaimed their approval and renewed optimism that an agreement will be reached.

“Although FMCS can not impose an agreement upon the parties, skilled mediators have demonstrated that by bringing a fresh and neutral view to the negotiations, they are oftentimes able to get both sides to budge from the rigid positions that had prevented a settlement.” This gives interested parties a sense of optimism after a fruitless 8 months of contract negotiations, work slowdowns, and severe port congestion.

Importers and exporters with shipments transiting the west coast ports should expect continued congestion, schedule delays, and port congestion surcharges imposed by ocean carriers until an agreement is reached. It may take some time for the ports to return to normal operations.

Please note that the G6 carriers will be skipping their call on the Port of Los Angeles and will be calling on the Port of Oakland for the month of January. This may change inland transportation costs and transit time for importers and exporters with shipments that typically transit the Port of Los Angeles.

Source: JOC:  Hopes rise as PMA-ILWU talks move under federal mediator guidance