Longshoremen at the Port of Portland arrived on time Wednesday morning and were doing their job unloading a container ship after a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order that requires longshoremen to end an illegal slowdown that has disrupted shipping at the Port of Portland and forced Northwest businesses to reroute cargo.
Judge Michael Simon handed down the 10-day order Tuesday after learning that mediation failed to resolve a dispute between the unions representing longshoremen and electrical workers over duties that amount to two full-time jobs. Simon noted that 10 days isn’t a long time, and he urged the sides to continue negotiations. He said their disagreement will end, one way or another, but the economic damage – particularly if container shippers decide to permanently skip Portland – could be indefinite for the parties and the region.
The slowdown led the two main container-shipping lines that serve the port’s Terminal 6, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG and South Korea’s Hanjin, to announce last month they were diverting ships to other ports.
More than 1,000 businesses, primarily in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, depend on the container terminal to get their goods to or from international markets. When ships are diverted and cargo must be rerouted, that adds costs to shippers and harmful delays to companies importing or exporting seasonal or perishable items. (AP)