OAKLAND (KCBS) — Operations at West Coast ports, including Oakland, are expected to resume Monday morning after a weekend shutdown that was the latest turn in an ongoing labor dispute.

Jonathan Gold with the National Retail Federation said West Coast ports including Oakland handle nearly 45 percent of all cargo that enters or exits the U.S.

“They’re essential to having a smooth-running global supply chain,” Gold said.

But the Port of Oakland, Los Angeles and Long Beach have been backed up for months ever since a contract with the dockworkers’ union expired. The shippers blame the union saying they are creating slow downs while the unions blame the operators.

Either way, shipping customers are saying it’s costing them a lot of money. Japanese auto companies are shipping car parts by air as McDonald’s in Japan are starting running out of French fries.

“Some companies have taken advantage of continuance planning and moving cargo to the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Canada or Mexico,” Gold said, “but you can’t totally avoid the West Coast ports.”

Gold said he thinks if the ongoing backload continues, or if there is a full-on strike, the cargo lines may take their ships to the Gulf Coast.

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