Increasing congestion in West Coast ports, where longshoremen have been working without a contract for nearly six months, is a growing concern for the U.S. meat industry and export trade.
About one-third of U.S. beef and pork exports travel to Mexico and Canada by ground transportation, the remainder relies almost entirely on ocean freight.
U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng says the red meat industry is watching the developments carefully…
On a monthly basis, waterborne red meat exports moving through West Coast ports amount to more than $600 million. Seng notes that meat importers have customers to serve, and they need reliable suppliers.
A six-year labor contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired this summer – and negotiations have recently become contentious.
The congestion crisis has been most pronounced at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Port officials recently said the number of ocean freighters kept waiting outside the two ports has fluctuated from about eight to 18 on any given day since the slowdown began around mid-October.