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Analysts say 74% of reefer cargo moves in containers.
ILWU says it may take between eight to 10 days to unload a ship because of limits on longshore hiring.
Business groups tell Obama that the use of a mediator is imperative in longshore union talks.
Marine terminal officials agree that future contracts will require ongoing collaboration.
Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou told American Shipper container lines need to adapt to permanent overcapacity, and cited Maersk's network management as the primary driver of bumper profits in recent years.
Economist revised forecasts, predicting lower import growth and a second year of declines in exports.