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  • Maggie Mildenberger

Breaking Updates: West Canadian Ports, UPS Strikes, & Global Shipping Reliability

As expected, the Canadian West Coast Port dock workers began their strike on Saturday, July 1st. This strike will severely impact containerized traffic into and out of the country’s 30 ports and 49 terminals along the West Coast.

Maritime Executive reports that, as of July 5th, negotiations are currently at a standstill between the ILWU- Canada and the BCMEA (British Columbia Maritime Employers Association). The two parties had been negotiating off and on since March 2023. Negotiations had been progressing throughout last week, when the potential for an imminent strike was first announced. However, the groups took a pause on Monday to “rest after a 33-hour marathon session”.

While the Canadian government has not stepped in officially, they are urging both sides to remain at the negotiation table to get goods moving again.

Currently, there are no vessels being re-routed to U.S. ports, as there would be high costs associated and no guarantee that U.S. ILWU West Coast Port Workers will unload them in solidarity with the Canadian ILWU strike.

While this strike in Canada will heavily impact the supply chain in that country, a similar action in the US is not expected. Both U.S ILWU and Canadian ILWU operate and negotiate independently, and there is currently no talk of a sympathetic U.S. ILWU action. Ratification of the U.S. West Coast agreement is still in process and U.S. West Coast ports remain at normal levels of activity.


Turning back to an issue we have been keeping an eye on over recent weeks, UPS and the UPS Teamsters Union are at an impasse over a new contract. This marks a stall in negotiations, but there have been no operational impacts as of July 5th.

In a statement released by the Teamsters Union July 5th, it appears that recent negotiations had been quite lengthy, with the Teamsters reporting that UPS walked away at 4 am from the bargaining table. A strike has already been authorized by Teamsters, effective August 1st, should negations completely break down, and would affect the roughly 20 million packages UPS handles daily.


Now, for some good news. Sea-Intelligence released a report on June 30th that on a global scale, ocean shipping schedule reliability has continued to improve month over month since the start of 2023.

Compared to 2022, reliability is up 30.3%. The figure below from the Sea-Intelligence report demonstrates that the numbers of 2023 are healthy and growing steadily.

We will continue to monitor these situations, and we look forward to seeing the report for global reliability next month that includes global June numbers.


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