As the Journal of Commerce reports, The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) ended three days of negotiations optimistic about a strike-free contract for East and Gulf Coast dockworkers. The ILA and USMX reported agreement in principle on two key issues, technology and ILA jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair. Now the ILA and USMX are seeking a six-year contract.
The current coast-wide contract expires Sept. 30. Many shippers said that if this week’s talks didn’t show progress, they planned soon to begin accelerating shipments or diverting cargo to the West Coast. According to the current poll by the Journal of Commerce, 68.1 percent of respondents have contingency plans in place to divert cargo.
Last week the association representing the largest U.S. retail companies sent the letter to the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance to reach a contract agreement well in advance of the Sept. 30 deadline in order to prevent a disruption to the flow of goods and the lasting economic effects that would result.
As we know, the ports play a critical role in supply chains and a potential disruption would be destructive to many industries and their ability to deliver goods to consumers in a “just in time” fashion.
RCL will keep you updated on the further development of the contract negotiations.