“Port Cliff” Can Kicked Down The Road, Ports To Stay Open For Now

December 28, 2012 12:19 pm

by Buzz Brockway

A deal has been reached to extend the contract between the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance for another 30 days. Thus ports on the east and gulf coasts, inlcuding the ports in Savannah and Brunswick will not close…at least for another 30 days. Given the looming fiscal cliff with unknown economic impact, averting a strike which would shutdown ports and could bring retail and other industries to a grinding halt is most welcome news.

Received via press release:

WASHINGTON, December 28, 2012 – National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay issued the following statement on news that the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance agreed to extend their contract negotiations for an additional 30 days:

“We welcome today’s news that a contract extension has been reached. However, we continue to urge both parties to remain at the negotiating table until a long-term contract agreement is finalized.

“While a contract extension does not provide the level of certainty that retailers and other industries were looking for, it is a much better result than an East and Gulf Coast port strike that would have shut down 14 container ports from Maine to Texas.

“A coast-wide port shutdown is not an option. It would have severe economic ramifications for the local, national and even global economies and wreak havoc on the supply chain.

Full release below the fold.

East and Gulf Coast Port Strike Averted
Retailers Continue to Seek Certainty in the Supply Chain

WASHINGTON, December 28, 2012 – National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay issued the following statement on news that the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance agreed to extend their contract negotiations for an additional 30 days:

“We welcome today’s news that a contract extension has been reached. However, we continue to urge both parties to remain at the negotiating table until a long-term contract agreement is finalized.

“While a contract extension does not provide the level of certainty that retailers and other industries were looking for, it is a much better result than an East and Gulf Coast port strike that would have shut down 14 container ports from Maine to Texas.

“A coast-wide port shutdown is not an option. It would have severe economic ramifications for the local, national and even global economies and wreak havoc on the supply chain.

“Throughout the process, NRF has stressed the vital economic importance of keeping the ports open to international trade and commerce. Our ports and the cargo and containers that flow through them are truly our economic lifelines to the world.

“Following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the recent eight-day port strike in Los Angeles and Long Beach, this extension is a welcomed sign to the entire supply chain community – from manufacturers to retailers – that the two sides understand the risks of a shutdown and are listening to the concerns of the shipping community.

“We applaud the work of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for working tirelessly – even through the holiday week – to orchestrate this contract extension and encourage them to continue their work with both parties to help them arrive at a final master contract. Only until we have a final contract will retailers and others have the certainty they need.”

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com

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