This week will mark one month since the infamous PMA-ILWU contract expired. The negotiations are on pause until August 4, 2013. The recess is applied so the ILWU officers can participate in unrelated contract talks with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest.
As stated in JOC, it looks like sometime in August before a new agreement is in place. No one is panicking and tensions appear low.
The reason is that Pacific Maritime Association President, James McKenna predicted that cargo would flow unimpeded across the West Coast docs during the negotiations, unlike past contract negotiation years (2002 and 2008). So far, that prediction has come true.
There is a little congestion and the cargo disruption has been minimal –and a lot of that congestion isn’t even directly connect to the negotiations. Some reasoning behind the congestion include:
- a brief flare-up at TraPac terminal over cargo automation
- the Teamsters pickets
- the ILWU dispute with ICTSI at Port of Portand, OR
- the grain terminal dispute at Pacific Northwest
“The reality is this: Despite the absence of a contract, 2014 has been been — so far — the smoothest ILWU-PMA negotiation in recent memory.” [JOC]
So, what’s important ?
The PMA and ILWU have pledged to keep cargo moving.