ocean freight containers at the port

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) is contemplating a significant East-coast-wide strike in October 2024. This action could severely disrupt supply chain operations for imports into the United States from Asia, Europe, and South America.

Impact on Imports

  • Shipment Delays: Ports along the East Coast, crucial for global trade, may face operational halts, causing substantial delays.
  • Rising Costs: Expect higher expenses due to demurrage charges, inflated freight rates, and rerouting fees.
  • Supply Chain Disruptions: A domino effect from port delays might lead to a widespread shortage of goods, affecting retailers and consumers. 

Strategic Recommendations for Importers

As your freight forwarding partner, we suggest:

  • Diversify Port of Entry: Use alternative ports, such as those on the West or Gulf Coasts, to avoid strike-affected areas. This can be done by terminating shipments on the West Coast and opting for air or truck shipping to the final destination.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct trial shipments well before the strike to assess potential savings or costs when switching from East to West Coast ports.
  • Inventory Management: Increase safety stock levels to buffer against delays, balancing this against the cost of additional inventory.
  • Supplier Engagement: Keep suppliers informed and flexible to adapt to potential delays.
  • Supply Chain Visibility: Invest in technology for real-time shipment tracking, aiding agile decision-making.
  • Budgeting for Extra Costs: Anticipate and budget for potential increased costs due to delays and alternative shipping methods.
  • Customs and Compliance: Stay informed about customs procedures and any changes due to disruptions.
  • Predictive Analytics in Technology: Use supply chain management tools with predictive analytics for foresight into potential disruptions.
  • Building Relationships: Cultivate strong connections with port authorities and understand the local labor landscape.


The potential ILA strike highlights the fragility of global supply chains to labor disputes. Proactive planning, supply chain strategy diversification, and maintaining flexibility are key to mitigating these disruptions. We are here to provide the latest insights and customized solutions to help you navigate these challenges effectively.

READ: Navigating the Risks of Engaging with Low-Cost, Foreign-Based Forwarders