The New York Shipping Association expects within the next 30 to 60 days to announce a reduction in the per-container assessment that funds longshore benefits at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The planned reduction will be among the first visible savings to port users from the NYSA’s recently negotiated six-year labor contract with the International Longshoremen’s Association.
NYSA President Joseph C. Curto said the size of the reduction hasn’t been determined. The NYSA currently collects $100 per container moving within 260 miles of the port to fund pensions, vacations and other longshore worker benefits.
Curto said the reduced cargo assessment reflects expected productivity gains from the new contract. He outlined the contract’s terms Tuesday at a meeting of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers.
The NYSA-ILA local contract, which supplements the Maine-to-Texas master agreement between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance, lays groundwork for changes in operating and pay practices at the port.
The contract replaces open-ended work shifts with a new system that caps shifts at 16 hours, reduces staffing requirements, curtails pay for time not worked, allows more flexibility in operations, and provides early-retirement incentives.
Curto said more than 300 senior workers are expected to accept the early-retirement incentives, which will clear the way for hiring new workers.
For the first time, the contract sets productivity goals for container lifts. The initial standard, 30 moves per gang per hour this year, will rise by one lift per gang-hour each year until it reaches 35 by 2018. A labor-management productivity committee will determine how to reach and maintain that standard.
Curto said the contract provides the means to improve the port’s competitiveness. “We focused on the things that are important to changing the economics of the port,” he said. “If we can change the economics of the port, we can make the port more competitive.”