Port delays could mean long-term damage for businesses

Yesterday the Senate Commerce & Labor and Trade & Economic Development Committees held a joint work session on the slowdown at the ports (which we have written about previously).

Several Washington businesses affected testified. Marc Spears of Chelan Fresh Marketing said that they’re losing $1.2 million in sales per week. He noted that they are missing a lot of the Chinese New Year business, and they “can’t make those sales up.” Dan Coyne of Darigold said the slowdown has cost them $30 million in lost sales. David Burroughs of Cascade Designs said that their snowshoes, like apples and milk, are “also in some ways a perishable product.” He said there was “a lot of snow on the east coast pre-Christmas” that they missed out on. Not being able to get their products out through the ports “creates reputational damage” and “a risk of long-term lost shelf space.” Mike Dodds of Basic American Foods similarly said that they are “starting to worry about market share.”

There was also a lot of talk about permitting, rail capacity and the need for a transportation package. Dan McKisson of the ILWU said that the “permitting process in this state must be streamlined.” Eric Johnson of the Washington Public Ports Association said, “permitting decisions on the waterfront are very, very slow.”

More coverage on the work session: AWB, Austin Jenkins, and TVW’s The Capitol Record.

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