LOS ANGELES An eight-day labor dispute that pretty much
halted container traffic out of two major West Coast ports came
to a close late Tuesday with what appears to be only a
short-term impact on ferrous scrap exports and little to no
effect on steel imports.
Dockworkers were due to return to work Wednesday as negotiators
for clerical workers represented by the International Longshore
and Warehouse Union (ILWU) reached a tentative agreement with
employers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif.,
according to a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles.
While ILWU Local 63 has only 800 members, about 10,000
dockworkers vowed to honor the clerical workers picket
lines, putting a halt to containerized shipments for more than
Although a ratification vote hasnt yet been held, the
outlook for passage of a new agreement was optimistic, the Los
Angeles port spokesman said.
Were expecting that it will be ratified, he
Most market participants said scrap trade at the ports appeared
to suffer little or no damage during the disruption, despite
earlier concern from inventory-lean Asian mills in particular
We expect to make up for that in two days, a scrap
industry source said of delayed export shipments, noting that
exporters who tend to hold their shipments until the end of the
month may have been affected to a greater degree than some
others. Everyone will get caught up pretty quickly.
Roughly 50,000 tons per week of containerized scrap is shipped
to overseas customers from the ports during normal conditions,
according to one estimate, although demand lately has been
slower than normal due to the global steel downturn.
Since the strike didnt affect the ports bulk
freight terminals, importers and buyers of imported steel
reported no impact from the walkout.
Our bulk cargo business was unaffected, said a