LONG BEACH — Terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach late last week ran night and weekend gates to work off much the cargo that was backed up at the ports after an eight-day office clerical workers strike, so Monday was not as bad as some had feared.
“It’s busy, but manageable,” said Bruce Wargo, president of PierPass Inc., the agency established by terminal operators in Southern California to operate the extended gates program.
A strike that begin Nov. 27 by the Office Clerical Unit of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 shut down 10 of the 14 container terminals in the port complex. The OCU, which had been working without a contract since June 2010, reached to a tentative six-year contract with the Waterfront Employers Association on Dec. 4, and the terminals were back in operation the next day.
During the strike, 20 vessels either diverted to other ports, or deviated from their normal schedule to call first at Oakland, which was in full operation. A number of vessels, however, sat at anchor awaiting a settlement.
Terminal operators were concerned that Monday would be crazy as they would have to work the ships that were at anchor and at berth, the vessels that were being routed back to Southern California from Oakland and a whole new weekly round of vessel calls from Asia scheduled to arrive over the weekend.
However, most of the terminals added flex morning and evening gates and night gates last week, as well as a Saturday day gate, Wargo said. Friday was especially busy, he added.
Fred Johring, president of Golden State Express, said his company by Saturday had caught up from the strike-bound cargo. However, Monday is always the busiest day of the week in the harbor, and Monday this week was even busier than usual with many of the ships that arrived over the weekend coming in full.
Wargo said that because of PierPass, the 14 container terminals in the harbor have a mechanism by which they can quickly increase the number of gates they run, so operations should return to normal as the week progresses.