Cargo ships wait out West Coast port slowdown in Bellingham Bay

Several cargo ships bound for large West Coast ports waited out a port labor dispute by anchoring in Bellingham Bay over the weekend.

After nine months of contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, all 29 West Coast ports closed to incoming traffic on Friday, Feb. 13. They reopened Tuesday morning as U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez arrived in San Francisco to meet with the two negotiating groups.

According to, which collects information on ship locations from on-board transponders, four cargo vessels were still in Bellingham Bay in the afternoon on Tuesday, Feb. 17.

West Coast ports handle about half of all U.S. maritime trade and 70 percent of shipments from Asia. Backups at the ports have affected many sectors of the U.S. economy so far. Reuters and the Washington Post have some analysis on the national impact.




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