The eight day port strike on the West Coast is over, thank goodness. On November 27th, a group of 450 clerks in the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, who had worked without a contract for over two years, walked out. In solidarity with the clerks, 10,000 longshoremen also walked off the job, shutting down 10 of the port’s 14 container terminals, in one of the busiest traffic seasons of the year.
As reported by ABC News: “Los Angeles and Long Beach account for about 40 percent of all container cargo shipped to the United States, most of it from Asia. Several billion dollars worth of goods have been left to sit on the docks. More than 90 percent of toys sold in stores is made in China and other Asian nations.” Oddly enough, the strike was not over money. Including benefits, the clerks are paid around $165,000 per year. The issue that caused the strike was related to potential outsourcing of some clerical positions.
Recently, Sir Harold Evans gave a short talk “How Containerization Shaped the Modern World.” It is well presented, if perhaps overly simplistic. His focus is on Macolm Mclean, who is often called the “Father of Containerization.” I worked for Macolm McLean many years ago when he owned US Lines. Despite Evan’s implicatiom, Mclean was not the first to promote containerization. He was, however, the first to succeed at containerization. Also “globalization” was not born of containerization. If anything, the reverse is true. Nevertheless, Sir Harold’s presentation is probably worth five minutes of your time.