Rail and trucker strikes threaten to exacerbate port congestion

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Rail and trucker strikes threaten to exacerbate port congestion

As the U.S. faces the twin threats of rail and trucker strikes which could exacerbate congestion and add complications to already strained supply chains, its Chamber of Commerce is urging President Biden to appoint a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB).

With data emerging that both East and West coast ports are getting overloaded once again and ongoing negotiations between dock worker unions and employees on the U.S. west coast also fraying nerves, rail and trucker work stoppage during peak season is set to worsen the situation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has therefore written to President Biden, urging him to “help resolve the ongoing labor negotiations between the Class I freight railroads and the twelve rail unions,” according to a report by Splash246.com.

The chamber calls for Biden to do this “by following historic precedent and appointing a PEB comprised of individuals who are impartial, belong to the National Academy of Arbitrators, and have direct experience in resolving rail disputes.”

“It is imperative that the Administration act to prevent any disruption to America’s rail service,” it added. 

Moreover, data has emerged showing that the number of import containers waiting for more than nine days at the country’s top two ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach, has shot up this month to their highest figures in the year to date. Congestion on the east coast has been brewing for many weeks too.

If a PEB is appointed, it will have 30 days to make recommendations to settle issues. During that period and for 30 days following release of the recommendations report, the two sides will be prohibited from stopping work.

A White House official said the administration “is going through the standard process that has been used in the past when considering a PEB,” according to a report from Reuters.

If President Biden does not establish a PEB before 12:01 am EDT on July 18, the railroads and unions could take action to stop work by the 115,000 affected workers, through either a lockout or a strike.

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