Officials at the Port of Hueneme are expecting to see a busy day Tuesday as work resumes following a four-day suspension of loading and off-loading operations at 29 West Coast seaports amid an ongoing labor dispute. The Pacific Maritime Association ordered the work stoppage Wednesday to avoid paying higher holiday wages Thursday and Monday. The PMA represents those who employ dockworkers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Four vessels are scheduled to be at the Port of Hueneme on Tuesday.
“Because of the impacts we’re going to have to turn things around and keep going, going, going,” said port CEO Kristin Decas. But overall, the port’s in good shape, Decas said. “Smaller niche ports tend to survive these situations better than the larger ports,” she said.
Decas said the work stoppages cause inefficiencies but the local situation is not comparable to what’s happening at the big container ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where imports are stuck on massive vessels lined up offshore.
By contrast, the Port of Hueneme has increased business because of the labor dispute, attracting more ships than normal by offering up space in support of perishable commodity commerce. Sunkist, for example, is exporting shipments of citrus through the Port of Hueneme for the first time since late 2006.“The way I look at it is we’re helping industry because they can’t get into the bigger ports, Decas said .U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez on Monday flew to San Francisco, where negotiations between the dockworkers union and a maritime association of companies have come to a halt. Perez will attend negotiations Tuesday.
The negotiations are private so Port of Hueneme officials will not attend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.