Friday, December 21, 2012

Retailers, Intermodal Trucking Worry About Potential Port Strike

A coalition of more than 100 local, state and national trade associations sent a letter to President Obama yesterday urging action to prevent an East and Gulf Coast port strike next week over intermodal container handling.

The letter urges immediate action by the White House to ensure that the lack of progress in ongoing labor contract negotiations between the International Longshoremens Association, which represents 14,500 dockworkers in East and Gulf Coast ports, and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, which represents management for shipping lines and port employers, does not result in a strike.

The bargaining is for a new master contract governing containerized cargoes - commodities shipped in 20- or 40-foot containers. The latest talks between the parties broke down Dec. 18, less than two weeks before the current contract expires on Dec. 29.

A strike was averted Oct. 1 when both sides agreed to a 90-day extension through Dec. 29 - after the U.S. elections and the holiday shopping season. The group said that failure to reach a contract agreement would result in a coast-wide shutdown at 14 containerized ports from Maine to Texas which would have serious economy-wide impacts.

The impacted ports would include Boston; New York and New Jersey; Delaware River [Philadelphia]; Baltimore; Hampton Roads, Va. [Norfolk]; Wilmington, N.C.; Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Tampa, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans; and Houston.

Read more here.

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