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Freighter backlog worsens outside major West Coast ports

SAN FRANCISCO -- Growing numbers of freighters were backed up around the two busiest U.S. cargo hubs on Sunday because of a dispute between shipping companies and dockworkers that has led to a partial shutdown of ports along the West Coast.

SAN FRANCISCO - Growing numbers of freighters were backed up around the two busiest U.S. cargo hubs on Sunday because of a dispute between shipping companies and dockworkers that has led to a partial shutdown of ports along the West Coast.

With cargo delays rippling through the economy, Japanese carmaker Honda Motor Co. said it planned to slow production at some of its North American plants starting on Monday because of a lack of parts from Asia.

Under pressure to address the months-long strife, President Barack Obama on Saturday dispatched Labor Secretary Tom Perez to California to help broker an agreement.

By Sunday morning, 34 container ships, tankers and other cargo vessels were waiting to dock at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., up from 32 on Saturday, said Lee Peterson, a spokesman for the port of Long Beach.

Cargo ships waiting at anchor and unable to load their goods were visible from highways and beaches for miles along the coast, an unusual spectacle, he said.

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Those delays have slowed deliveries of a wide range of goods, from agricultural produce to housewares and apparel, leading retailers to pressure Obama to intervene.

On Friday, negotiators for the union representing 20,000 dockworkers at the ports and management's bargaining agent, the Pacific Maritime Association, agreed to a federal mediator's request for a 48-hour news blackout. The two sides held a bargaining session on Thursday that marked their first face-to-face meeting in nearly a week.

Related Topics: TRANSPORTATION
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