The Integrity of Organized Labor

This story has been floating around the Portland media for the past 5 years, but it is always treated as a sort of mystery- why would the shipping companies pull out of Portland? 

This article originated in the LA Times so I suppose there wasn’t as much danger of angering the local union mafiosos.  I can’t help feeling a high level of schadenfreude about the possibility of the Longshoremen going bankrupt.

The point that the article fails to mention, however, is the impact this has had on Portland traffic. All of those containers that used to be loaded and unloaded here now go into Seattle or San Francisco and then run up and down I-5. And that freeway at the south end of the city (Wilsonville) suddenly started experiencing daily gridlock in 2015, continuing to today. Prior to that traffic jams were rare there. I’ve been ranting about this for several years but so often people just give me a blank stare, not having a clue what I’m talking about.


5 thoughts on “The Integrity of Organized Labor”

  1. Trinity Waters:
    I get ya.  The Boone bridge on I-5 is hell on earth now.  Glad I don’t commute anymore into the city, and to the airport, from my digs in Woodburn.

    Yeah, we lived in Willy for 24 years up until 2017 before moving to Hillsboro (which we hate FWIW). It was rather jolting when all of a sudden the freeway was jammed all the time when up til then you’d see a back up once every couple of weeks and even then only at rush hour.

  2. Great Adventure:
    All of those containers that used to be loaded and unloaded here now go into Seattle or San Francisco and then run up and down I-5.

    Actually a substantial of those loads moved to Port Rupert in British Columbia.   Port Rupert is closer to the Far East Ports (look at a globe), and there is only one railroad in town, Canadian National, which has good relations with the longshoremen.   Shippers in Memphis have learned that, rather than sending a container back to the Far East via Union Pacific or Burlington Northern and having it wait around collecting fees in a Left Coast port, they can ship via CN, which will run a container up through Minnesota to Canada, and west to Port Rupert.   That only takes a few hours more, the container spends much less time waiting at the port, and then it takes a day less on the ocean leg of the trip.   The return trip saves even more, plus at least a day less total time in transit makes this an attractive option.

    (The key thing that made this option work around here was a little over a decade ago when CN bought the old Illinois Central-Gulf Railroad and consolidated operations.)


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