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Goods held hostage in West Coast port battle

A labor dispute between dock workers and shipping companies is slowing the moving of goods in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
Businesses, shoppers to feel impact of West Coast port battle 02:04

LOS ANGELES -- Row after row of shipping containers are piling up dockside at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. A billion dollars of new cargo comes through here every day - and just sits.

Brian Jablon of Stansport CBS News

Brian Jablon runs Stansport, a company that supplies camping gear to businesses including: Amazon, Target, and Home Depot.

"Right now, there are 32 containers we have sitting out in the ocean we're waiting to get in the door," Jablon told me.

Lisa Foster is running into the same problem. She owns One Bag at a Time, which sells reusable shopping bags to retail stores.

Lisa Foster CBS News

"Normally, I get a container within three to five days," Foster said. "But I've had delays of up to seven weeks now."

Fashion retailers Ann Taylor and Lululemon estimate shipping delays cost them $8 million to $10 million. Perry Ellis had $6 million worth of clothing stuck in port.

Business owners across the country say they're collateral damage in a bitter contract dispute between dockworkers and shipping companies that began last summer. Each side is blaming the other for the backlog. The result: businesses have no idea when their goods will be delivered.

"They're calling me for April, and that's impossible," said Foster, who added that she can't even guarantee delivery by May.

"We're all being played as pawns," said Jablon. "Ultimately, every single one of us in this country is going to end up paying for this."

More than 40 percent of the nation's imports land on these docks. Shipping companies say they are on the brink of a full shutdown. If that happens, the National Retail Federation says the impact on the U.S. economy could reach $2 billion a day.

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