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Contract Negotiations for East, Gulf Coast Ports May Get Very Early Start

In the aftermath of the long and contentious West Coast port labor contract negotiations, some positive news emerged this week from the opposite side of the country: The International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance said they plan to open discussions soon on a new, long-term contract covering East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, even though their current labor agreement doesn’t expire until September 2018.

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng welcomed the news.

“I am very encouraged to hear that the two parties are at least exploring this possibility,” Seng said. “The nation cannot endure a repeat of what we just went through on the West Coast, which was costing our economy an estimated $1 billion per day and the damage isn’t over yet. The port backlog also caused our reliability as suppliers to be called into question by our Asian customers, and that’s something U.S. industries cannot afford to see happen again.”