Capacity going through U.S. West Coast ports will be in short supply if the International Longshoremen's Association strikes or is locked out at East and Gulf Coast ports, according to the world’s largest container line.
Thomas Knudsen, Maersk Line’s Asia Pacific CEO, said shippers seeking to divert shipments into West Coast ports would find capacity scarce. “Our utilization into West Coast ports is already in the mid- to high 90s so there is almost no capacity left.” Knudsen said. “We can take a little more, but not a major overflow.”
The strike or lockout by the ILA could begin at the start of October when its existing contract with terminal operators covering ports from Maine to Texas, represented by the United States Maritime Alliance, comes to an end.
Maersk Line was one of a number of carriers to file precautionary congestion surcharges with the Federal Maritime Commission in case of a strike.
“Should there be no labor action and subsequent congestion disrupting operations, this tariff filing will be nullified,” the carrier said.
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