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Jan 21,2022

Due to the labor shortage caused by the epidemic, the negotiation of labor contracts for dock workers is imminent

North American west coast ports have been warned to prepare for conditions in 2022 after struggling to handle near-record container volumes for much of 2021 amid a backlog of vessels and deteriorating inland logistics at large Ocean freight services.


Sea-Intelligence CEO Alan Murphy expects that throughout 2022, ports in the western United States will experience varying degrees of congestion. Murphy believes that supply chain bottlenecks in the U.S. interior must be cleared before congestion at port terminals can be resolved. Given the current problems, it is not known whether the inland dredging will take two months, four months, six months or longer.


Supply chain labor shortages caused by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant and upcoming negotiations on new labor contracts for dockworkers are expected to exacerbate supply chain congestion in the coming months.


The fast-spreading Omicron variant is already hollowing out workers in U.S. factories and warehouses, according to The Washington Post. Carl Weinberg, an economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note to clients that when a package that was supposed to arrive at his office the next day arrived two days late, he was told the FedEx center in Newburgh, N.Y., was two-thirds late. One of the drivers and other workers were unable to come to work due to the new crown pneumonia.



Logistics experts worry that the Omicron variant could touch every link in the global supply chain. Bank of America estimates that the roughly 4.2 million U.S. workers who can't do their jobs from home -- from waiters to forklift drivers -- will need to quarantine during peak Omicron transmission.


As reported last week, the Pacific Maritime Association said about 800 dockworkers -- about one-tenth of the daily workforce at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach -- were unable to go to work for coronavirus-related reasons.


Shipping from china to usa shippers expect the disruption from this variant to be short-lived, with another threat looming.


The operator, which runs port facilities from Washington state to Southern California, will begin negotiating a new labor contract this spring with the union representing more than 20,000 dockworkers to replace one that expires in July. This negotiation has proved somewhat disruptive to supply chains in previous years.