West Coast ports dispute caused drop in US growth

West Coast ports dispute caused drop in US growth

San Francisco: The dock labour dispute that disrupted operations for months at the 29 West Coast ports in the US caused a loss of 0.2 percentage points in the country’s economic growth during the first quarter of 2015, according to Dow Jones.

Slowdowns and congestion resulted from the impasse between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the employer companies.

It affected sites all along the Pacific coast from Washington State through Oregon to California and included North America’s biggest hub for imports the Los Angeles and Long Beach complex.

Disagreements were largely resolved by February with normal working capacity resumed in March and the formal signing off on a new labour contract happening in May.

While some importers managed to find alternatives – mainly switching entry points to east coast and Gulf of Mexico ports – it was not so easy for exporters who found their chain of supply clogged because of a lack of imported raw materials.

The result, say economists, was a decline in real export growth of 1.5 percentage points in the first quarter, equal to a 0.2 percentage point drag on the overall economy.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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