Back to Back Layoffs Announced at Two POLA Container Terminals

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PORT OF LOS ANGELES—As of April 24, PortlandTerminal.com reported that two terminals at Port of Los Angeles have informed their skilled longshore workers and 35 crane operators that they will be laid off. This was confirmed by sources at ILWU local 13 that said, “all of the steady crane drivers have been returned to the hiring hall.”  This is not an uncommon practice when there is a down turn in shipping. Our sources said this is “just like in the 2008-09 recession.”

Fenix Marine Container terminal (FMS) referred to as Pier 300 — the second-largest container terminal at POLA, told employees on April 23 that 35 crane operators will be laid off. Just before that on April 19, West Basin Container Terminal – China Shipping (WBCT) announced to its workers that it will be making layoffs.

China Shipping (North America) Holding Company Ltd. is fully equipped with the capacity to serve mega-ships and can service vessels with up to 14,000 20-foot equivalents. The terminal operates Berths 100-102 at the Port of Los Angeles and is owned by COSCO Shipping.

Reportedly, all foremen and most crane drivers at West Basin Container Terminal will be laid off due to weak cargo activity at the container terminal. The timing of these layoffs is not yet known, but it appears imminent and will probably be through May and June.

POLA, America’s largest container port, recently announced that its March container volumes were down by 31% versus 2019.

The Los Angeles/China Shipping layoffs were announced after similar news the previous week from the Port of Virginia, which said it will shut down one of its six terminals April 20, due to trade demand declines amid coronavirus-driven restrictions.

This comes amidst the Chinese economy coming back online as they recover from the pandemic but as the demand for goods from Asia declines because of the quarantine here in North America.