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White House urged to intervene in WC labor talks

A coalition of 238 US shippers and transportation interests urged the White House to intervene in West Coast labor negotiations. The contract talks have dragged on for 10 months. Many are growing frustrated with the lack of progress and the resulting cargo diversions. West Coast ports have lost a significant amount of cargo as a result of stalled negotiations. 

The coalition made the plea days after the latest job action by workers caused significant delays at some terminals at the ports of LA and LB. Negotiations between the ILWU and PMA began last May. Some matters such as health benefits have been resolved. However, there has been no agreement on core issues such as automation, wages, and pension benefits.

The group that signed the letter asked the Biden administration to name a new point person for the contract talks. Additionally, they asked for “mediation services” that will help move negotiations along. The West Coast continues to lose cargo to the East and Gulf coasts as shippers seek to avoid disruptions.

The group that wrote the letter stated, “That cargo will not return to the West Coast until after a contract is final and approved by both parties. The longer there is no ratified contract only increases the probability that some portion of the freight will never return to the West Coast ports.”

The NRF said that retailers are already planning their import supply chains for the peak shipping season this summer and fall. However, they are hesitant to commit to the West Coast without a labor agreement in place.

Retailers are also watching developments on the East and Gulf coasts. The ILA is discussing the possibility of extending their existing contract until 2030. That could result in a long-term diversion away from West Coast ports.

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MSC joins carriers changing D&D billing practices

MSC has joined a growing list of ocean carriers that have changed their billing practices. The carrier said it will cease charging container detention and demurrage fees to consignees when terminals are closed. The carrier also said it is working with the FMC and US regulators “on best practices and requirements for our industry.” 

In a customer advisory, MSC said it “will not assess demurrage, detention, or per diem charges for any day in which a terminal is closed due to holidays, weekends, or other port closure events.”

HMM made a similar commitment earlier in the week.  The carrier also said it will stop charging demurrage fees on days when container pickup facilities are closed. OOCL also confirmed that it has refrained from billing customer D&D fees for days when the customer is unable to pick up or drop off a container.

The fast-moving developments around changes to detention and demurrage billing are happening amid an ongoing rulemaking process by the FMC. The agency has until mid-June to issue final rules on detention and demurrage billing.

The head of Port America, the US’ largest MTO, decried the idea of changing billing practices. He believes that shippers should be assessed demurrage fees if a terminal is closed on a holiday or weekend and allowable free time has ended.

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About O’Neill Logistics

O’Neill Logistics is a leading third party logistics provider. We operate in California, Savannah, New Jersey. We service many verticals including Garments, Fashion Accessories, Footwear, Furniture, Home Goods, & Electronics. Additionally, we offer omni-channel distribution and all value-added services. Lastly, we focus on retail “drop shipment” fulfillment and item-level fulfillment services with same-day service offerings.

O’Neill Logistics has over 2 million square feet of state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, we offer dray services to support the warehouses and provide distribution to retailers and wholesalers. Our reliable 3PL platform combines sophisticated technology with robust, flexible processing designs and speed-to-market gateway models.

Lastly, we aim to simplify your supply chain. We deliver exceptional service and can optimize your operational performance. Therefore, we aim to build, protect and foster strong business partnerships.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or need assistance with your logistics solutions!