America's West Coast ports are booming again

West Coast ports are back in action.

Work slowed down and ports got congested during the nine-month contract dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 20,000 workers, and the Pacific Maritime Association.

They reached a tentative agreement in February.

Economists said the slowdown had a huge impact on the balance of trade as well as retail sales because inventories could not be delivered on time. It’s been estimated to shave as much as 1% from first quarter GDP.

But container movement is picking up again. This chart from Steven Englander, Citi’s Global Head of G10 FX Strategy, shows that the number of inbound containers is approaching where it was mid-2014, when the slowdown started.

“The West Coast labour dispute ended February 22 and March data show record inbound containers to the Ports of Los Angeles, Long beach and Oakland (Figure 1),” Englander wrote. “West Coast ports account for more than half of all inbound containers to the US.”

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