Appliances, meat, dairy could fall short as dock dispute continues


Negotiations resume Wednesday in the labor dispute involving docks on the mainland West Coast.

Last week, KHON2 reported on a warning from the Pacific Maritime Association, the group that represents the shipping carriers, that docks from Seattle to San Diego could shut down in five to 10 days due to contract dispute with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

While the dispute continues, companies in Hawaii have been dealing with delays in cargo shipments.

Eight Point Distributors Inc. is located in the airport industrial area. For decades, the company has been delivering close to a thousand frozen food items seen
on store shelves and restaurants, everything from french fries to pizzas and certain deli meats.

It is also widely known as a distributor of ice cream–popular brands like Roselani, Breyers and Ben and Jerry.

But the company told KHON2 about delays in cargo containers from the West Coast, sometimes for three days.

“Actually, the last couple of weeks we’ve seen delays and that’s been affecting our timing when it comes to shipping to the outer islands,” said Michael Sakamoto Jr., the company’s general manager.

The company tries to keep its inventories stocked with items to head off any shortage should the dock dispute linger, but Sakamoto says it cannot keep certain items in storage for too long, like bacon and deli meats that have a short shelf life.

“If we bring in too much of that product, what’s going to happen is it would get ‘out of code’ or expire,” Sakamoto explained.

Servco Home and Commercial Products, better known as Servco Appliance, has also seen delays in container cargo arrivals at its Mapunapuna showroom.

President Craig Washofsky said the delays have been for a day or two and while that doesn’t have too much of an impact on the American-made products, Washofsky cannot say the same for microwaves and other appliances made in Asia, which are delivered first to the mainland West Coast before they make their way to Hawaii.

“Some of that stuff has been delayed a little bit longer,” said Washofsky, “so we’ve seen spottier availability of inventory of that kind of product… We’re like everybody else in Hawaii. We’re at the mercy of what shippers are able to do.”

KHON2 also contacted Dean Foods, the Texas-based company that owns Meadow Gold milk.

Spokesman Jamaison Schuler said in a statement, “At this time, we have enough milk to supply our customers.” But Schuler added that “we share the concern of others that Hawaii residents could be impacted by an extended labor dispute, resulting in shortages of nutritional produce and dairy products, especially fresh milk. That is why Meadow Gold continues to develop local supply relationships.”

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