How will this impact businesses that rely on the ports for the shipping of their goods?
The primary impact will be delays in getting product into businesses’ networks and ultimately available for consumers to purchase. Should the slowdowns dramatically impact carrier equipment balances, shippers will also face higher freight costs to move available product from the ports to their facilities.”
Should the industry have seen this coming … what about alternatives?
Alternatives are limited considering the volume processed through the West Coast ports. The expiration of the current agreement has been known since it was signed and isn’t a completely unforeseen event. What makes this particular negotiation more challenging are all the supply chain disruptions over the last two years and the resulting impacts on supply, demand, costs and labor.
In a normal negotiation cycle shippers could have prepared more easily by ordering product ahead of schedule, looking at air options or shipping to different ports. These options are limited depending on the product category being shipped because of all other disruptions.
In order to properly prepare for this shippers need to understand their supply chains and risks associated with their current network. Using real-time data to analyze their network gives them the best opportunity to mitigate disruptions more easily, or at least react much sooner.