Negotiations between employers and the ILWU (International Longshore & Warehouse Union) have progressed this week. Employers have offered a contract to the ILWU in the hope to put an end to the “slowdowns”. The new contract will see longshoremen make an average of $160,000 per annum as well as receiving fully paid health care costing employers $35,000 per annum. The ILWU believe an agreement is very close and have urged the Employers not to close the port. There is hope that an agreement can be struck soon and a coastwise meltdown can be avoided.
The work slowdowns and refusing to dispatch qualified workers such as crane operators has caused chaos at the Port of Oakland. Below are some pictures showing what the port looked like before the congestion and what it looks like now. Even if the contract is finally agreed in the next few days then we still expect the congestion to take weeks to clear.
The consequences of this congestion will drive the spot market for almonds up and we have already seen several enquiries for spot/afloat material this week. We might see a situation where the spot market firms considerably and in turn we would expect the shipment price from California to move up, especially on standards which appear on the short side. What will happen once the congestion has finally been cleared is hard to fathom but certainly things look tight on the near side.
After – Now Congestion