Labour Deal, Panama Transits to Benefit US West Coast Ports

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday September 11, 2023

A deal between dockers and ports on the US West Coast has seen cargo shift from East to West.

August market share for the biggest West Coast ports rose 3.6% from July to 41.9%, while the top ports on the East and Gulf Coasts fell 3.3% to 43.1%, according to Reuters citing Descartes Systems Group data.

Protracted negotiations between trades unions and employers resulted in deal in mid-June that was ratified on August 31.

Another factor affecting trade flows has been the pressure on water levels in the Panama Canal. Slower ship passages could see cargo destined to East Coast ports rerouted to West Coast destinations, the report said.

Former Panama Chamber of Commerce president Nicolas Vukelja Duque told Ship & Bunker that there is a draft restriction on ships of 13 metres in place on the Canal and that the number of daily ship transits is limited to 32.

Duque said that transits will "normalise" once precipitation returns to maintain the Gatun Lake reservoir in the Canal. He pointed out that added waiting times can be put to good use by accessing shipping services including ordering bunker fuel.