As American Shipper magazine reports, negotiations between The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) that were scheduled to be held from Aug. 22 through Aug. 24 were suspended before the end of the first day.
The breakdown of talks comes after both sides reported disagreements on two key issues—the greater use of automation to replace manual functions at the docks and the continued jurisdiction of labor to repair and service chassis used by drayage companies.
The current contact that expires on the 30th of September covers the dockworkers in 13 ports. According to the trade group the National Retail Federation (NRF), about 20 percent of all apparel, textile, and footwear traffic moves through the 13 ports stretching from Maine to Texas.
The possible work stoppage would affect the normal flow of goods entering U.S. commerce and could disrupt residual holiday traffic. U.S. imports from Europe would face the most severe disruptions, although Asian import flows could be affected as well. About 30 percent of Asian imports enter U.S. commerce through East and Gulf Coast ports.
RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated on the further developments.