Senators: Keep ports open to commerce

Several U.S. Senate members sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday urging him to take action on the unnecessary gridlock of goods at almost 30 West Coast shipping ports.

The slow down is the result of a labor dispute between dock workers and shipping company owners that began in October. 

In their letter to Obama, the senators stressed that the negative impact that the delay has had on American consumers, shippers and the economy grows each day. The consequences of this gridlock are estimated to cost billions of dollars in higher transportation costs, increased storage fees and food spoilage in addition to the damaged relationships between domestic suppliers and international customers, which may result in the loss of business.

“The U.S. transportation network serves the American economy by moving goods in a cost-effective and competitive manner to global marketplaces,” the letter stated. “For the transportation network to work properly and serve our nation’s shippers and consumers, our ports must function efficiently and reliably.”

The letter also addressed concerns that the gridlock will result in the unnecessary and permanent loss of  American jobs, affecting not only supply and demand, but also the already struggling middle class. 

The senators called on Obama to issue an executive order to open the ports up again by March 2, two months after a federal mediator was appointed to end the dispute. 

Organizations in this story

United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 2 Constitution Avenue Northeast D.C., DC 20002

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