December 31 - We end the year with some good news from the USA where the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the US Maritime Alliance (USMX) have agreed to a 30-day extension of the current labour contract and negotiations between them, thu

An official statement from the federal mediator, George Cohen, said that: "The container royalty payment issue has been agreed upon in principle by the parties, subject to achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement."

Cohen added that: "While some significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the upcoming 30-day extension period."

HLPFI understands that the next possible strike date if talks fail to produce a settlement is after February 6th.

Original talks broke down at the end of September and a strike was averted then by the parties agreeing to a 90-day contract extension.

While a contract extension does not provide the level of certainty that many shippers were looking for, it is a much better result than an East and Gulf Coast port strike that would have shut down numerous container ports across the US East and Gulf Coasts.