While the “ fiscal cliff” has been getting all the attention, we are fast approaching another cliff scheduled for Dec. 30th. If the ILA and the USMX( United States Maritime Alliance) don’t agree on a master contract , Longshoreman will strike at 14 container ports from Maine to Texas. The last time there was a strike at the East and Gulf Coast ports was in 1977, when I was a young lad of 24 working as a assistant dispatcher for a Port of NY/NJ drayage carrier. It was confusing and chaotic back then but with the growth in container traffic during the past 35 years a strike of only of couple of days would be catastrophic to our recovering economy.
WTO( World Trade Organization) statistics, calculate total merchandise trade( imports and exports) between the U.S. and the rest of the world based on the US dollar at current prices, totaled $2.8 trillion in 1977 and $37.4 trillion in 2011.
The stakes are much higher as increased trade along with technology improvements have contributed to the rising living standards for Americans.
A federal mediator has rejoined the talks this week. The issues are complex: automation, jurisdiction, royalty payments, work rules, staffing, container and chassis weights. A coalition of business groups lead by the National Retail Federation have called on the president “ to use all means necessary , including Taft-Hartley, to keep the two sides at the negotiating table.”
This needs to be resolved before more damage is done to our limp economic recovery.
The Journal of Commerce, www.joc.com does an excellent job covering this.
Joe Lombardo , NGNF nice guy no freight