End to port strike relieves Hawaii businesses

End to port strike relieves Hawaii businesses

LOS ANGELES (HawaiiNewsNow) - The eight-day walkout that crippled major docks in California and stalled cargo shipments to Hawaii may soon be over. Local businesses were worried about stocking up if the dispute dragged on, but a tentative agreement on a new contract was reached on Tuesday night, just a few hours after the arrival of federal mediators.

Armstrong produce relies on ocean freight for most of its imports bound for restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. A company spokesperson said 10 of its 40-foot containers have been affected by the port strike.

The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handle about 40% of the cargo shipped to the United States, but shipping clerks demanded a new contract, claiming management had been outsourcing their jobs.

The walkout did have some impact on Hawaii businesses.

"It really hasn't been a shortage per se, it's just kind of delayed in a sense in reaching us. We've also been able to shift a number of our containers over to Matson," said Tisha Uyehara of Armstrong Produce.

"The vendors, of course, have a choice in deciding which shipping lines they want to go to, but as far as we're concerned, we're telling the customer base that we are going to sail and we're not going to miss a sailing," said Ali Nikkhoo of Horizon Lines, Hawaii Division.

The tentative agreement won't be final unless it is authorized in a vote of the ILWU Local 63 Office Clerical Unit, but employers at the ports said that workers would be back on the job on Wednesday morning.

The state's main ocean cargo shipper, Matson, wasn't affected since it reached a deal with the union earlier.