Posted by: coastcontact | December 5, 2012

Los Angeles – Long Beach Harbors Resume Operations

Work resumed today, Wednesday, at the nation’s busiest port complex after a crippling strike was settled, ending an eight-day walk-off that affected thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in cargo.

Is everybody Happy?  Today the answer is YES but the future is looking bleak for these import facilities.  This is a serious situation for the 10,000 dock workers.

Los Angeles Cargo Terminal

Los Angles cargo terminal, photo taken on April 29, 2011 at 2:30PM . 1/50 second at f7.1 using Panasonic DMC FZ28 camera.  The sky was that blue and cloud free.  The sea was that blue.  Hey, It’s Los Angeles! 

The immediate effect was the redirection of ships to other ports.  One of those ports is Ensenada, Mexico. Ensenada is in Baja California lying 125 kilometers (78 mi) south of San Diego on the Baja   California Peninsula.  With a population of more than 279,000 people a major part of its economy depends upon tourism.  It also has a deep water port for commercial shipping that received more than 3 million metric tons of freight in 2010.  When cargo is unloaded in Ensenada it is not done using unionized workers.  Truckers are not unionized. When the goods are transported into the USA there are no tariffs thanks to NAFTA.  So why won’t some shipping companies continue to use Ensenada rather than the Los Angeles area ports now that the ships have been diverted?

Currently Hyundai makes shipboard cargo containers and truck trailers at its nearby Tijuana plant, and two other Korean conglomerates–Samsung and Daewoo–make TVs and other electronic products at plants in Tijuana and San Luis Rio Colorado near Yuma, Arizona.  Daewoo and Samsung have announced plans to expand their manufacturing operations in Baja California, and Hyundai has told the Mexican delegation that it is mulling the possibility of building a steel plant in Mexico.

I am guessing that ever more business will not be returning to the California ports.

There is another more serious threat to the Los Angeles-Long Beach port facilities. The Panama Canal Overhaul.  When completed some of the largest ships in the world will be able to traverse the canal.  The canal’s new set of locks will allow a ship with a 160-foot beam to pass with ease.  The current canal can accommodate only ships that are no more than 106 feet wide and 965 fee long.  Some of the largest ships in this category, with containers stacked seven-deep on their decks, look like they’re barely able to squeeze through today’s locks.  Currently vessels traversing the canal can carry a maximum of 5,000 20-foot containers.  With the new locks completed the canal will be able to handle ships three football fields long that hold 13,000 containers.

The result of the enlarged canal locks will mean ships from China, Japan and other Asian nations can more easily set their destination on the Atlantic and Gulf costs of the United States.  When those Panama Canal improvements have been completed who will be shipping their cargo to California?

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Responses

  1. I had no idea about all of this. There must be some way to ensure that unions and livable wage jobs can still be a fact and still compete with all the countries that do not pay livable wages or have unions. What i find interesting to note is that Germany and Canada both have strong unions and livable wages and as such, am left to wonder why not the USA, also Sadly, unless the treaties and tax policy’s are changed back to what they were before Reagan started our countries decline into a government run by plutocrats, there is little chance of good outcomes. Thank you for pointing out facts that really enlightened me.


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