Volume at the nation’s ports is surging in the wake of the settlement of a long-running labor dispute, according to Global Port Tracker numbers released by the National Retail Federation, with landside problems continuing. Volume at U.S. ports was up 13.5% over 2014 numbers in March, and is projected to be up 8% in April.
The agreement was reached in late February, after the intervention of U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez (see “A Long Time to Unclog Ports”). The union’s leadership has recommended acceptance of the contract; voting is currently taking place with a count promised on May 22.
Unfortunately, unloading the ships is only the first step and congestion on land continues due to a shortage of chassis and other problems. The situation is still “far from normal," according to NRF VP-Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. “Progress is being made but there’s still a lot of cargo waiting to be loaded onto trucks and trains and moved across the country even after it’s unloaded from the ships,” Gold said.
Port congestion has affected supply chains in a number of geek categories, including games and comics, but seems to have had the biggest impact on high volume games, including WizKids’ Dice Masters and Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars lines.