by Lara L. Sowinski
Negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) broke down last week, despite what appeared to be genuine progress over the past few months.
ILA President Harold Daggett said the development means a strike is likely when the current contract expires on September 30.
Bad timing, of course, for shippers, East and Gulf Coast ports and local and state economies, all of whom rely on maritime commerce and global trade to fuel their businesses and economies. Making matters worse is the fact that we’re in the midst of the peak shipping season.
However, shippers are more ready for a strike this time around compared to the debilitating West Coast longshoremen’s strike of 2002. According to a recent shippers’ poll conducted by the Journal of Commerce, three quarters of those polled believe a strike is “likely,” and an impressive 68 percent have back-up plans in place.
If there’s anything that recent earthquakes, tsunamis, Icelandic volcanoes, strikes, and rogue sea monsters (okay, I made that one up) have taught us, is that contingency planning is absolutely critical these days.