East and Gulf Coast port strike averted
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.”