PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The Port of Portland and 28 other West Coast ports will close for four of the next five days, halting the movement of billions of dollars of goods.
Port operators and longshore union members were supposed to head back to the negotiating table Wednesday, but that meeting was canceled.
The ports will close Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to avoid the weekend wages and holiday pay.
This news comes one day after Hanjin — the Port of Portland’s largest shipper — announced it is leaving.
Cargo is struggling to cross the docks amid historically bad levels of congestion. Employers blame crowded docks on longshoremen staging work slowdowns; dockworkers deny slowing down and say companies are exaggerating to cut their shifts.
In a statement released Wednesday, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said:“I’m troubled by the reports that a labor dispute between the International Longshoremen and port operator ICTSI allegedly has led to a decision by South Korea’s Hanjin to suspend operations in Portland. Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in wages hang in the balance. It is my hope that both sides quickly come to a fair and equitable solution to the dispute, and that Hanjin reverses its decision to withdraw from Terminal 6. The sound business factors that first led Hanjin to make Portland a hub for incoming and outgoing international commerce remain true. Portland is the right place on the West Coast for Hanjin to conduct its business. A solution to the Terminal 6 dispute, reached quickly and equitably, could spur the shipper to alter its decision.”The Associated Press contributed to this report