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W. Coast port strike ends, backlogs may persist

Keywords: Tags  OHL, Los Angeles, ports, Long Beach, shipping

NEW YORK — A strike that lasted more than a week at two of the West Coast’s largest port facilities came to a close late Tuesday, although industry players say shipping backlogs could persist even as workers returned to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., Wednesday morning.

Clerical members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, who have been working without a labor contract since June 2010, ended their eight-day strike Tuesday after reaching a tentative deal with 14 employers at the ports, the union said on its website.

During the strike, dockworkers at seven of eight container terminals in Los Angeles and as many as three of six terminals in Long Beach vowed to honor the clerical workers’ picket lines, putting a halt to shipments and leaving some inventory-lean steel mills in Asia in particular concerned about delays (, Dec. 3).

But while the strike has since come to a close, those delays could persist, logistics firm OHL said in a statement.

"Now that the strike is settled, OHL expects that the backlog will last for a while even though the ports will reopen as workers report back to work today. We will be working to minimize the effects," the company said.

During the strike, a number of vessels were diverted from Los Angeles and Long Beach to alternate sites in Oakland, Calif., as well as ports in Mexico and Panama, OHL said.

The logistics company said the six vessels diverted to Mexico will not be returning to Los Angeles, while the Oakland diversions are expected to return and discharge at the original port. As of Monday evening, 17 vessels had been diverted to other ports, OHL said.

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