The West Coast Longshoreman Slowdown Costs Truckers



The nine-month Longshoreman labor dispute on the West Coast may have ended but the effects of the slowdown will last for weeks and possibly months to come. The multitude of workers who unload and transport cargo goods from freight containers must now quickly re-engage to address the backlog of shipments on the ground and those yet to make it into the port. This pent up supply of containers waiting to move through the supply chain pushes every part of the logistics cycle to its capacity.

One of the unintended consequences of the slowdown has been its effect on truckers who move the cargo from the port to businesses who rely on timely delivery of goods. Truckers are a critical part of the import shipping process and as the longshoremen negotiated for better work terms and conditions, truckers were negatively impacted.

Drayage drivers move containers between the rail yards and ports as well as deliver to the final destinations. In some cases these drivers are paid by the hour, but in most situations drayage drivers are paid by the mile or load, they are not paid for standing still. At the Port of Oakland, truckers could average as many as five containers a day before the work slowdown. During the slowdown a trucker could spend up to three days waiting in line before hauling.

Drayage companies would turn down business as they sent drivers home when it did not make sense to operate their trucks. They are now raising rates as capacity is tight and there is a need to compensate for the reduced revenues of the last few months. Intermodal logistics brings disparate modes of transportation into a tightly wound web that needs many parts to run smoothly if deliveries are to be made in a timely fashion.

Drivers will be pushed hard to make up for capacity that was wasted in the previous few months. It will be interesting to see how truck drivers around the country are able to bring the system back into balance. Time will tell how much of an effect the slowdown has impacted truckers and the responses made to ensure deliveries are made and workers are compensated for additional hours of hauling.

Fortunately the slowdown has ended and drivers can begin to get back to a normal schedule. As transportation experts, our team has insight and expertise on all issues related to the trucking industry and can help you put into place safety best practices that keep your drivers healthy, safe with added benefits of reduced injury costs. For information and resources that can help, contact a HUB Transportation Insurance expert today.

HUB International Transportation combines national reach with local service to address the needs of large fleet, small fleet, and single owner trucking operations. We have exceptional market access, educational resources, and a deep bench of experts who are solely focused on serving the trucking industry.

Steven Bojan, is the Vice President - Fleet Risk Services, for the Risk Services Division HUB International. To reach Steven or a local HUB risk services expert click here.