Tags: Port | strike | 1 billion | NAM

East Coast Port Strike Could Cost US $1 Billion a Day

Friday, 28 Dec 2012 11:23 AM

A strike at the nation’s eastern ports could drain the economy of $1 billion a day if the work stoppage comes to pass, said Robyn Boerstling, director of transportation and infrastructure policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

The International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance are holding talks to avoid a strike by 14,500 longshoremen working at Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports on Dec. 30.

Sticking points included salaries and royalties paid to dockworkers based on container weights, and manufacturers — as well as the entire U.S. economy — could suffer dearly if a compromise fails to materialize.

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

“Manufacturers are trying to protect jobs and minimize the damage of potential supply chain disruptions from a costly strike, which could cost an estimated billion dollars a day,” Boerstling told CNBC.

Some manufacturers have exported more than normal to brace for the potential Dec. 30 strike, while others have stocked up on inventories and diverted cargo elsewhere.

“These preparations have come at an enormous expense for manufacturers during a period of great economic uncertainty and the threat alone of a strike comes with financial consequences,” Boerstling told the network.

“In spite of all these efforts, disruptions in sales and lost export opportunities are likely to be unavoidable outcomes.”

A walkout at East Coast ports would be the first since 1977, something Atlantic seaboard governors don’t want to see.

“The livelihood of thousands of Florida families lies in the balance,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said during a news conference call with state port executives, according to The Associated Press.

“Florida’s largest ports could be shut down. This is an issue of not just Florida importance but of national importance.”

Further to the north, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey estimated the strike would cost the region $136 million a week in personal income and $110 million in economic output.

“Any disruption to port activity will negatively affect tens of thousands of local jobs as well as both the regional and the national economies,” Steve Coleman, an authority spokesman, told Bloomberg.

“We urge the parties to resolve their differences as soon as possible.”

If the strike does come to pass, longshoremen would still handle military cargo, mail, passenger ships, non-containerized items like automobiles and perishable commodities such as fresh food, the AP noted.

Still, the economy would suffer.

“The global economy moves by water, and shutting down container ports along the East and Gulf coasts while the national economy remains fragile benefits no one,” said Deborah Hadden, acting port director at Massport, the public agency that oversees shipping terminals in Boston, the AP added.

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

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A strike at the nation’s eastern ports could drain the economy of $1 billion a day if the work stoppage comes to pass, said Robyn Boerstling, director of transportation and infrastructure policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.
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2012-23-28
 

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