East Coast Port Strike Averted...For Now

A threatened East Coast strike of port workers now appears unlikely to be occurring in the coming weeks amid an extension of talks.

Negotiations in the last week involving federal mediators and two significant dockworkers unions (the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance) have resulted in a 90-day extension of contracts that were due to expire on Sept. 30. A strike at most East Coast ports was almost sure to follow during the first days or weeks of October. While the labor dispute is far from settled, there is now more time for them to work things out while not disrupting trade in the fourth quarter.

The development was enough to cause Fitch Ratings to declare the movement one that “serves to minimize the credit impact expected from any future work stoppage.” A report unveiled by Fitch on Sept. 25, titled “East Coast Port Strike: Credit Implications,” noted port credit ratings are expected to remain "resilient," and that port liquidity is somewhat strong, among other positive factors.

- Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer

(Note: More on this story will be in this week's edition of eNews, available Thursday afternoon via e-mail or on the web at www.nacm.org).

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