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    Survey: Shippers Making Contingency Plans to Prepare for More Port Shutdowns

    PHILADELPHIA - U.S. shippers, uncertain over the timely settlement of the West Coast ports dispute, are making contingency plans against additional service disruptions, according to a nationwide survey by Philadelphia-based logistics specialist BDP International (BDP).

    PHILADELPHIA - U.S. shippers, uncertain over the timely settlement of the West Coast ports dispute, are making contingency plans against additional service disruptions, according to a nationwide survey by Philadelphia-based logistics specialist BDP International (BDP).

    Currently favored actions, reported by 74 percent of supply-chain managers surveyed, include cargo diversions to East Coast ports, favored by almost 52 percent; increases in safety stocks, 34 percent; alternate sourcing, 29 percent; and diversions to Gulf Coast ports, 29 percent.

    Shippers also anticipate long-term changes in supply-chain management, to be prepared for similar disruptions in the future.

    West Coast ports reopened Oct. 9, after the Bush administration imposed an 80-day cooling-off period under the Taft-Hartley Act. Federal mediators on
    Tuesday ordered a one-week break after negotiators failed to reach agreement on pension provisions.

    BDP and its Centrx supply chain consulting unit commissioned the survey by
    Adler Research between Oct. 24 and Oct. 30, two days before announcement of the tentative agreement on one key issue, technology.

    As for long-term effects, while more than 48 percent of respondents reported no plans to alter supply chain strategies due to the shutdown, a 52-percent majority planned increased reliance on alternate port facilities. East Coast ports were the clear favorite, at 33 percent, followed in descending order by ports along the Gulf Coast, 21 percent; in Canada, 16 percent; and Mexico, 6 percent. About 21 percent of shippers planned to increase safety stock, while the same percentage expected to seek alternate sources for essential items.

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