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Importers Brace For Possible Port Strike

Labor contract talks resume this week between longshoremen and container carriers at East and Gulf Coast ports, including the Port of Houston.



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The International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance have three weeks to work out a new contract. If they can’t, there’s a risk that either the longshoremen will strike or employers will lock them out. Ben Hackett is a maritime industry consultant and publisher of Global Port Tracker.

“The impact in Houston would be catastrophic. If there was a strike, it would come to a dead stop.”

The contract was set to expire December 29, but federal mediators convinced the two sides to extend talks another month. Jonathan Gold is vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation.

“Companies are once again nervous about what will happen as we arrive at the February 6 deadline for, again, a potential for a strike or shutdown on February 7.”

A strike or lockout would close more than a dozen ports from Texas to Maine, affecting nearly half the nation’s ocean cargo.

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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