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Port of New Orleans could shut down due to Longshoremen, Maritime contract dispute

money2The Port of New Orleans could be shut down due to contract negotiations dispute, said a written warning from Stephen Schatz of the National Retail Federation.  

 

 

See update below

The threat of shutdown is directly related to ongoing talks between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. 

Bayoubuzz received an press release email today with the subject stating, “The Port of New Orleans  will shut down in 10 days...”

The relevant portion of the release stated:

If the ongoing contract dispute between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. does not get resolved by Sunday, December 30.   

If the Port of New Orleans shuts down (the last East and Gulf Coast port strike was 1977), it would negatively impact every importer and exporter that utilizes the container port, from manufacturers and truck drivers to farmers and retailers, affect hundreds if not thousands of U.S. jobs, and cost the U.S. economy millions upon millions of dollars a day. 

A similar 2002 West Coast port disruption was estimated to cost the U.S. economy around $1 billion a day, and that strike lasted 10 days! 

The National Retail Federation (NRF) – the world’s largest retail trade association – has been working tirelessly to draw attention to the potential “container cliff” along the East and Gulf Coast ports.

 

From the very beginning, NRF has urged both sides to remain at the table until a deal is reached! NRF’s voice continues to echo that same sentiment even after the two sides broke off negotiations yesterday! 

The National Retail Federation also issued the following statement which was located on its website:

WASHINGTON, December 18, 2012 – The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold on the breakdown of contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd.:

“It is extremely disheartening to learn that the two sides failed to reach an agreement during today’s negotiations. NRF urges both sides to remain at the table until a deal is reached.

“It is imperative that both sides verbally announce their intentions to return to the negotiations. A coast-wide port shutdown would have a significant impact across all businesses and industries that rely on the ports, particularly retail.

“The last thing the economy needs right now is another strike, which would impact all international trade and commerce at the nation’s East and Gulf Coast container ports. This is truly a ‘container cliff’ in the making.

“The retail industry, once again, calls on President Obama to engage directly in the negotiations. The President should utilize all available tools, including Taft-Hartley, to eliminate even the threat of a strike or lockout. The time for leadership is now.”

Update

Below is an statement from Gary LaGrange, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans 

Here is Gary's statement on the potential ILA strike:

 

"We remain optimistic and hopeful that an amicable resolution to the negotiations between the ILA and management can be reached.  A work stoppage at this time would interrupt the slow steady national economic recovery process and this could be detrimental to all parties.  

 

As a landlord port authority, while we have no direct involvement in cargo handling, we have had informal discussions with both our local terminal operators and labor unions to ensure an orderly transition to a new contract.  We are monitoring the situation and firmly believe a resolution will be forthcoming."

--Gary LaGrange, President and CEO Port of New Orleans

 

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