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May 6, 2015 

Allen Lund Company Newsletter

Emergent Issues in Distribution and Transportation

In This Issue
Are You Done Yet? A Follow Up on West Coast Port Slowdowns

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Jenn Cole, Editor  
Allen Lund Company
Grand Rapids Office
(800) 641-5863 

Are You Done Yet? A Follow Up on West Coast Port Slowdowns


Call me weird. Call me old-school. Call me whatever you wish, but tell me my thought process is not wrong. Here are a few of my thoughts...


...a bonus should be for work above and beyond an established norm, not guaranteed even though someone's performance is driving a company toward bankruptcy or government bailout. Calling something a "guaranteed bonus" is just saying you are paying the employee more regardless of their production.


...someone expecting a raise should already have been performing above their current pay grade or should expect that the raise will come with additional responsibility. It is not realistic to think someone should pay you more just because you are still reporting to work. 


So, with thoughts like these you might assume I would blame the union for the nine month plus stalemate between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). But in this case, I am reminded of the old adage, "It takes two to tango." Both sides took positions that they knew the other would never agree to. Stubborn, obdurate, obstinate behavior ensued and lasted while ships anchored offshore and product spoiled, or missed crucial deadlines. Their squabbling led to major disruptions to the supply chain. Here is a short list of just some of the measurable losses: 

And, the list goes on and on. Production slowdowns because of missing parts, high inventory levels for exporters, low inventory levels for importers, store sales down because of low inventory, orders lost to foreign competition, shipping lines cancelled some sailings, ports are now being excluded on loops, in fact, one of the ports involved in the ILWU vs. PMA contract dispute lost a customer who represented 80% of their business. 


What else has this port slowdown driven? 

  • An increased urgency for more automation at ports 
  • A significant shift in business to East Coast ports, which will result in a loss of business to West Coast ports
  • A concurrent reassignment of logistic support and storage and packaging facilities will take even more jobs from the area 
Perhaps Eric Johnson of American Shipper said it best in a recent commentary: "The tie that will forever bind the PMA and ILWU after this negotiating season is their joint and utter indifference to the effects their petty bargaining had on everyone else - from the major retailer that incurred significant costs to redirect its supply chain, to the small shop owner who couldn't realistically divert any of his or her cargo, and instead sat with empty shelves[...] It's not terminal automation or Cadillac health plans that should have had the two sides worried - it's the reality that they both lost complete touch with whom they serve. It will take years to rebuild any trust with the shipper community." 



Steve Kendall
Transportation Broker, Orlando

Steve Kendall began his career with the Allen Lund Company Orlando office in February of 2014. He came on board with 11 years of experience in the transportation industry. Kendall graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a BA in English with minors in Education and Psychology. He also completed Post Baccalaureate work in Journalism at University of South Florida, and University of Florida.  

About Allen Lund Company: Specializing as a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices and 400 employees, the Allen Lund Company works with shippers and carriers across the nation to transport dry, refrigerated (specializing in produce), and flatbed freight; additionally, the Allen Lund Company has an international division, which is licensed by the FMC as an OTI-NVOCC #019872NF, and a logistics and software division, ALC Logistics.  


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