Looming East Coast Port Strike Threatens Supply Chains

Atlantic ports handle 40% of all U.S. waterborne shipping.

If it’s not one coast, it’s the other.      

Workers at port facilities on the West Coast went back to work early this month as members prepared to vote on a settlement of a bitter dispute that led the International Longshoremen Workers Union to shut ports there for eight days earlier this fall. Now time’s running out on a Dec. 30 strike deadline set in September by the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), which represents dockworkers on the East Coast and Gulf Coast.          

Gary Lynch of MarshLynch, pictured at left, says the possibility of back-to-back port strikes on both coasts “demonstrates why global businesses must be prepared for powerful and possibly crippling disruptions” to supply chains that don’t involve destruction of goods but the inability to deliver them.

When it comes to supply chain issues, Lynch says, many companies still think in terms of physical losses of goods and natural disasters. “They need to be prepared for these kinds of things too,” he says.

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