Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Container Cliff: Deadline of February 6 looms!

If no agreement is reached between the port operators, shipping firms and the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), a strike on February 6th remains a real possibility!

Back on December 28, 2012  the United States economy falling over the Container Cliff was narrowly averted when a 30-day extension between the parties was agreed to:

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! (Source)

Now, as will typically be the case where deadlines loom, not much has been done to either settle or avert a strike that could throw a large monkey wrench into the U.S. economy if it were to occur!

An economy with GDP growth reported yesterday that has actually slipped into negative territory signaling the potential for the economy to move back into recession.

The media, having led the charge the last time we faced not only the Container Cliff but the Fiscal Cliff as well, is to date extremely quiet on the issue.

From The Cargo Channel:

"The potential ILA strike of approximately 14,500 dockworkers at U.S. East and Gulf ports is a week away. At the threat of an event that would cause major disruptions to the supply chain in the U.S. and cost our nation’s economy a billion dollars a day, there are questions to be asked.

What is the status of the negotiations between the ILA and USMX? Does the strike seem likely?

With the February 6th deadline of reaching an agreement drawing so close, the media is suspiciously quiet when it comes to news about the negotiations. Maybe it is a simple problem of a lack of news to report on the subject.

The ILA and USMX have been quite tight-lipped about the negotiations of late. So too, has been the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

The last real update released by any of the parties involved was on January 17th from FMCS stating, “The United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association conducted negotiations during the three day period January 15-17, 2013. In these negotiations the parties made progress and have agreed that the negotiations will continue under our auspices...”

Read the article in its entirety here.

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