(Sept. 21, 2012) – A looming longshoremen strike that had the potential to shut down port shipping along the entire US east coast has been averted – at least until the end of the year.
After a day of “productive” negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, the parties agreed to extend the collective bargaining agreement, due to expire on September 30, 2012, through December 29, 2012.
“The parties emphasized that they are doing so, ‘for the good of the country’ to avoid any interruption in interstate commerce,” said a statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen.
Curtis Whalen, executive director of the American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Carrier Conference, said that if the strike were to have taken place at the height of the peak shipping season, the impact would have been profound.
Even the threat of strike could severely hamper the transportation supply chain as retailers has already been implementing costly contingency plans by diverting freight to the west coast in order to meet holiday promotion deadlines.