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Port Dispute Creates Supply Chain 'Perfect Storm'

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment dridrive

Processed by: Helicon Filter;Ports in the western United States are finally up and running at full speed after a months-long labor dispute. DRI was asked to offer insight on what companies should learn from this supply chain disruption — and possibly the next one!

USA Today quoted DRI executive director Chloe Demrovsky, who pointed out that the new contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association has been negotiated to last five years. “So chances are, we’ll see something similar in another five years. It would be good for ports and businesses to start thinking about that now,” she said.

The current contract has been negotiated, but there’s still a major backlog of shipping to manage — one that hit the U.S. agriculture industry particularly hard.

“Perishables have been knocked out of markets, and our customers overseas have been forced to find other, non-U.S., sources for their meat, fruit, hay, cotton, rice, nuts, French fries, lumber and so much more,” Peter Friedman, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, told USA Today.

Though contracts with Asian buyers had been signed long ago, the slowdown meant there was no way to ship fresh vegetables and citrus in time. That’s product that couldn’t be diverted elsewhere in the U.S., where the icy winter on the east coast has resulted in lower produce sales.

“When you put it all together, it’s kind of been the perfect storm,” said Ken Gilliland, director of international trade and transportation for the Western Growers.

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