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Port Activity Up as Labor Talks Continue

June 04, 2002|Bloomberg News

Imports through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach jumped in April amid concern about possible labor unrest next month.

Imports through the Port of Los Angeles increased 22% in April from a year earlier; they rose 13% at the Port of Long Beach, the ports reported, as talks between ocean carriers and West Coast dockworkers entered a fourth week.

Three years ago, longshore workers at both ports slowed down operations when the two sides failed to reach an agreement in time.

The rise in imports at the nation's two busiest container ports came in part because importers are taking precautions against a possible work slowdown, said Robin Lanier, executive director of the West Coast Waterfront Coalition, an industry organization.

Representatives of the Pacific Maritime Assn., which represents carriers and other terminal operators on the West Coast, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents about 10,000 workers, have been meeting since May 13 to work out a new 3-year contract. The current pact expires July 1.

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