by Tim Linden | December 04, 2012
Some fruit and vegetables are being held up at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as longshoremen at 10 of the 14 container terminals in those side-by-side ports are refusing to cross picket lines set up by a related clerical union that is on strike.
A freight forwarder working the port who asked not to be identified “because I work with the longshoremen every day” expressed dissatisfaction with the situation, but said that “80 percent of the fruit we bring in comes through one of the terminals not being affected at this point. But who knows how long that will last? This could spread to all the terminals any day now.”
He said that while most of the fruit he handles has gotten through, “We have a container of asparagus from Peru and some Italian kiwi that is stuck. The asparagus is pretty perishable, so we need to get it released soon.”
Though not technically perishable, many of the ships in the ports are loaded with merchandise looking to be sold to consumers during this holiday season.
The seven-day strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is the largest disruption of cargo traffic through the two ports since a 10-day lockout at West Coast ports in 2002. Last year, the two ports together handled more than $400 billion in goods arriving or leaving the West Coast.