Industry Roundup: Pending ILA Strikes, West Coast Volume Surge, and More

GSC ∕ March

Check out our latest industry roundup, where we spotlight significant developments shaping the logistics industry. The beginning of 2024 has brought financial improvements to East Coast ports while West Coast imports surge. The challenges posed in the Red Sea continue, while freight volumes increase at the port of Savannah, and the International Longshoreman Association (ILA) dockworkers in the East and Gulf coast are beginning contract negotiations under threat of strikes. Despite some challenges, positive developments are surging throughout our industry.  

Check out these 5 must-read logistics news stories: 

Georgia allots $6M to Brunswick harbor improvements – Georgia Ports Authority
The Georgia General Assembly has allocated over $6 million for improvements at the Port of Brunswick to enhance vessel movement efficiency and safety. Governor Brian Kemp has highlighted the importance of this project for Georgia’s infrastructure development and economy. The reported $17.45 million renovation aims to accommodate the growing business demands and larger vessel sizes, benefiting auto carriers as well as bulk and breakbulk vessels carrying commodities such as raw rubber or forest products.  

West Coast leads latest surge in US container imports – FreightWaves
After a tumultuous 15 months where top U.S. ports grappled with declines in year-over-year volume, the beginning of 2024 has seen a significant increase in container volumes at major U.S. ports. January marked the fourth consecutive month of growth with a 9.2% rise in inbound container volume across all U.S. ports. This resurgence reflects recovery from the post-pandemic downturn and indicates a return to growth driven by economic activity. West coast ports, including the Port of Oakland, saw a notable 23.5% surge, signaling a shift back to pre-pandemic shipping patterns. 

Maersk says Red Sea vessel diversions could go into second half of year – CNBC
The logistics industry is navigating disruptions due to Red Sea diversions, East Coast port labor negotiations, and the Panama drought. These challenges necessitated a shift in maritime routes and emphasizes the resilience of the industry. Maersk has adjusted its maritime operations, leading to diversions of its vessel routes from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This disruption is expected to extend into the second half of 2024. As the logistics industry adapts to these challenges, the focus on diversified supply chain strategies becomes critical.  

Freight volumes build at the Port of Savannah – FreightWaves
In February, the Port of Savannah reported a 14.4% year-over-year growth in container volume, reaching 451,670 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This figure surpasses any month recorded in 2023 and 2019, or outside of the pandemic boom. A 19% increase in loaded imports and a 10% rise in loaded exports is driving this surge in year-over-year comparisons to February 2023. Another indicator of the success at the Port of Savannah is the Mason Mega Rail Terminal experiencing a 39% growth in intermodal lifts, representing the port’s burgeoning momentum. Despite this, the port’s intermodal throughput remains below maximum capacity, indicating potential for further growth and signaling the importance of the Port of Savannah in the logistics industry.  

East Coast, Gulf Coast Dockworker Talks Are Starting Under Threat of a Strike – WSJ
The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), representing 45,000 dockworkers along the East and Gulf coast ports, is entering crucial contract negotiations under the looming threat of a strike. The current contract is set to expire on September 30, and the union has made it clear that failure to reach an agreement will result in a strike, potentially coinciding with peak shipping season. Despite some industry skepticism about the likelihood of a strike, particularly ahead of a U.S. presidential election year, concerns remain in the backdrop of an evolving labor landscape.  

GSC is a leading provider in the shipping logistics industry with over 35 years of experience delivering customized supply chain solutions to world-renowned retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. Interested in how we can help with your drayage and transloading needs? Contact us today or check out our services and solutions here. 

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