Shippers Fear East Coast Port Strike, Journal of Commerce Poll Reveals

NEWARK, N.J., June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Stalled contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association and United States Maritime Alliance are scheduled to resume this week, but many shippers are preparing for the worst this fall, according to an online poll by The Journal of Commerce. More than 75 percent of respondents consider labor disruption at East and Gulf Coast ports likely, and 68.1 percent have contingency plans in place to divert cargo.

The poll, conducted June 22-23, drew 232 anonymous responses to questions regarding shippers' expectations for the Sept. 30 expiration of the ILA contract. Results found that 56.4 percent of respondents consider disruptions "somewhat likely," while another 26.7 percent feel it is "very likely." More than 20 percent already have diverted cargo from East and Gulf Coast ports. A majority of respondents whose companies have not diverted shipments will decide by July whether to do so. A full report of the poll results can be found on www.joc.com.

The ILA has not had a coastwide strike since 1977, but many shippers became concerned after a heated panel discussion between ILA President Harold Daggett and USMX president James Capo at The Journal of Commerce's TPM conference in March. Apprehension has increased over the last few months as both sides released statements about ongoing negotiation difficulties.
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