Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) contract talks which began on May 12 have continued beyond expiration of the previous contract on June 30 without too much fuss. “While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the PMA and the ILWU,” the parties said in a joint release.“Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and U.S. economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coastwide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they support,” the release added.Expiration of the previous contract also means that the no-strike clause contained in contract has expired. However, by stating that “cargo will keep moving,” both parties were sending a message to the shipper community that neither a strike nor a lockout is anticipated as a way to influence negotiations.
It was denied by the ILWU that the work to rule this week at the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines owned TraPac terminal at the Port of Los Angeles is connected to contract negotiations. TraPac is the first container terminal on the West Coast to automate some areas of cargo handling processing, a right granted under an earlier ILWU contract.