Friday, December 28, 2012

The Looming Container Cliff: Longshoreman threaten to shut down the nations ports on Sunday!

Update December 28, 2012 12:55 PM: An agreement has been reached for a 30-day extension in order to try and resolve the issues remaining between the ILA and the USMX!

A strike at the nations ports by longshoremen could cost millions of U.S. jobs throughout the supply chain and would further cripple an already crippled economy!

There's more going on around here than just the fiscal cliff crisis and upcoming debt ceiling negotiations.

As if these two alone wouldn't be bad enough for an economy struggling to regain some semblance of its footing, the potential for a massive strike at the nations ports looms on the horizon for this Sunday.

This strike would be called by the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) due to failed negotiations for a new contract with the nations port operators and shipping companies that are represented by the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX).

The potential economic impact of an ILA strike!

In 2002, a similar strike was estimated to cost the American economy $1 billion per day. Business groups and state officials have called for President Obama’s involvement to prevent such financial devastation again. Business groups wrote to Obama last week stating that "Failure to reach an agreement resulting in a coast wide shutdown will have serious economy-wide impacts." 
If a settlement cannot be reached, this latest strike would affect the east and gulf coasts from Boston to Houston, causing problems to the supply chain around the country. The Longshoremen's union represents 14,500 workers at more than a dozen ports on these coasts, handling 95% of all containerized shipments from Maine to Texas. They handle 65% of America’s international trade by value, contribute $3.5 trillion to the American economy, and support 13 million jobs nationwide. All of this is at risk due to the domino effect of a labor strike. The unions understand the massive power those numbers wield, and it appears they're not above leveraging that power to the detriment of millions of workers and consumers. Can the American economy handle another hit like this?  We may soon find out. (Source)

Four types of cargo that most likely will not be affected by a strike includes automobiles and bulk items that are not containerized, perishable commodities and cargo for the military. Cruise ships leaving and returning should not be affected by the strike or by port closures either.

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