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COVID outbreak could cripple California container ports

Los Angeles County is at the epicenter of the current COVID surge. That county’s Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex is simultaneously at the epicenter of America’s import surge. These two spikes are now converging as hundreds of California dockworkers catch COVID.

The doomsday scenario — COVID-induced terminal closures in California at the very height of the import boom — is generally considered unlikely. But it’s being openly talked about.

“If the catastrophic infection rates continue, there may be a need to close the San Pedro Bay Port Complex to protect the health and safety of the workforce,” executives of the ILWU dockworkers union warned in a letter Monday to the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents employers.

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