In March, a group of 49 trade association, including PPAI, sent a letter to the White House urging the administration for “early and persistent” engagement in the impending contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

The U.S. West Coast ports account for more than 44% of nationwide container port traffic. With negotiations yet to formally begin ahead of the contract’s July 1 expiration, the letter warns that uncertainty is already disrupting freight strategies and operations on the ground.

Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, says, “Previous labor disputes at the ports cost the U.S. economy upwards of $1 to $2 billion per day. To say the stakes are even higher today is an extreme understatement, as even a short slowdown or shutdown will disrupt already fragile supply chains and compound inflationary pressure.”

James Khattak is news editor at PPAI.