Does West Coast port shutdown affect Guam? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Does West Coast port shutdown affect Guam?

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Earlier this month, operations at West Coast ports were temporarily shutdown due to labor negotiations and union slowdowns. Should we be worried here at home?

"I think overall, I understand the concern, because everyone is hearing about the workers labor strike and happening over on the west coast and wondering how that's going to impact Guam cargo," said Port Authority of Guam general manager Joanne Brown. She says she is aware of the situation occurring at the West Coast ports, but Guam need not worry.

"Not overall, there might be delays from other jurisdictions getting to the west coast if things are being brought there to be shipped over to Guam, but in terms of Guam and Hawaii we do have an exemption, the military has an exemption and we're very fortunate certainly because of where we're located," she added.

And while Brown's statement provides some sort of relief, some delay in shipment is expected for the island. Matson's general manager for Guam and Micronesia region Bernie Valencia tells KUAM News that the delay is not a result of the labor dispute, but rather damage to Matson's Maunawili ship following a transpacific storm on its way from China to Long Beach, California. Matson is the largest US carrier coming into Guam.

Said Brown, "Of course because we don't have the vessel arriving next week, we're going to practically going to have double up the following week to accommodate the vessel that is coming in with the additional cargo. I think we're anticipating over 900 units that will be on board so we're going to have work twice as hard two weeks from now but overall in terms of cargo coming in and any major concern the public should have at this point, we're not there."

Valencia tells KUAM News repairs were expected to take only five days but instead will now take 10 to 14 days. She says Matson's priority is to bring its vessels back on schedule as quickly as possible and recover from the delays. While a Vessell will be arriving today, the next shipment originally set to arrive on February 24 has been delayed until March 4," noting, "But I hope it makes everyone more aware of how critical it is and how important it is to ensure we have these commodities shipped to Guam and that the port is geared up to accommodate bringing those items in and out of the community."

And while the situation doesn't necessarily warrant residents having to stock up massively on goods, Brown does note that certain perishable items are also flown in and two separate vessels are expected next week from Asia. Valencia in the meantime says that while Guam does has an ample supply of dry goods, some produce is likely to be the most impacted. Valencia adds Matson activated a reserve ship and also used other vessels in its system to bring freight to Honolulu connecting with the MV Maunalei which arrives on March 4. We should further note that Valencia says Matson has been a reliable carrier, as the last time Matson missed a weekly sailing to the Guam region was over two decades ago back in 1991.

She says Matson is working closely with customers to reduce the impact of the delay. 
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