Shippers relying on cargo being discharged / loaded in Vancouver or Prince Rupert may be in for some disruption very soon. After some job actions by longshoremen in recent days, management last night announced a lockout of labor effective this Thursday at 0800. The parties have been trying to renew the Canadian ILWU contract which technically expired in March of 2018.
It is possible this action could spur some type of 11th hour agreement in the next 24 hours. Ocean carriers are monitoring this closely to do all possible to complete cargo operations before the Thursday morning deadline. Alternatively, carriers will be making contingency plans for vessels due over the coming days to determine if it makes sense to proceed to Western Canada ports or divert cargo to U.S. ports.
For U.S. importers diversions may result in a delay of a few days to reach ultimate destination and additional fees would be possible. Also the import cargo will be subject to U.S. harbor maintenance fees. For exporters carriers will need to advise about any adjustments for delivery cut-off times and/or locations.
We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you advised. Look for bulletins from ocean carriers should any schedule adjustments be necessary.