December 19, 2012
Multiple news sources indicate that on Dec. 18th contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance broke off. This increases the likelihood of a strike at U.S. East Coast and Gulf Ports when the current contract expires on December 29th.
ILA President Harold Daggett is quoted as saying “I think we’ll be on strike.” His comments were made after the union and USMX having met with a federal mediator, failed to reach an agreement on carrier container royalties that support annual payments to ILA members.
Reports indicate that the ILA president had said that the union offered today to extend the contract to Feb. 1 but that the USMX would have to agree to no caps on container royalties. Further, the USMX proposed a Jan. 7 meeting and held the position that royalty caps must remain in the negotiations. At that point, the meeting broke up according to the ILA President.
One carrier advises they have learned that if a strike takes place a congestion surcharge will be implemented from the date of the initial strike action and will remain in effect until the strike has ended. Carriers have announced that the Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS) will be $1000 per 40’, other sizes per formula.
There are not a lot of places to turn. If USA members have EC rates in place and should want to switch cargo to the WC, they should book early as space will get extremely tight. If any USA Members need WC rates put in place, please contact the USA staff immediately and they will attempt to secure WC MLB rates.