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Ships divert as port strike blocks US trade gateway

Published on Nov 30, 2012 10:56 AM
Shipping container trucks sit in traffic as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union strikes, putting a halt to most of the work at the busiest seaport complex in the nation on Nov 29, 2012 in Long Beach, California. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Container ships have begun diverting to other ports in California and Mexico as a strike continues to disrupt docking facilities in Los Angeles, a key gateway for trade with Asia, an official said.

As a trade group urged President Barack Obama to intervene, Port of Los Angeles head Geraldine Knatz also warned that the three-day-old strike could damage the US economy and harm the reputation of the key shipping hub.

"This dispute has impacted not only our port workforce but all stakeholders who ship goods through our complex and potentially the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are directly and indirectly related to port operations," she said.

"In today's shipping environment, we can't afford to lose cargo or our competitive advantage," she added Thursday, saying ships were diverting notably to Oakland, up the coast near San Francisco, and to Mexico to the south.

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