The Business Times

US West Coast ports work to clear biggest ship backlog since 2004

Published Tue, Feb 24, 2015 · 09:50 PM
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Los Angeles

THE two busiest US seaports are facing their largest backlog of ships in more than a decade, even with hundreds of dock employees returning to work over the weekend after their union reached a tentative labour contract.

Thirty-five ships were queued up on Monday morning outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together handle almost 40 per cent of US imports, in the biggest backup since railroad tie-ups choked off the flow of cargo in 2004, said Kip Louttit, who heads the Maritime Exchange of Southern California. That's up from as few as four in December.

"Ships are still arriving, and they need to get the whole machine going again," said Mr Louttit, whose nonprofit group provides information on ship traffic and hel…

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