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Agreement Nears in West Coast Port Contract Talks

The two sides involved in the West Coast port slowdown are nearing a contract agreement after an eight-month negotiation period. An agreement could avert a strike that could cost as much as $2 billion a day.

West Coast shipping companies and dockworkers are closing in on a contract agreement after eight months of negotiations, potentially avoiding a strike costing as much as $2 billion a day.

The Pacific Maritime Association, the bargaining agent for shippers and terminal operators, and the 20,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union reached tentative agreement on maintaining truck chassis at the 29 West Coast ports, port authorities said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. Cargo has piled up at the ports in part because there aren’t enough functioning truck chassis to drive off containers after they’re unloaded.

That progress signals that a full contract agreement may be at hand, almost seven months after the dockworkers’ contract expired, said Wade Gates, spokesman for the maritime association.

“A tentative agreement was reached on the chassis topic, and we are hopeful that this will allow us to move toward conclusion of a full agreement in the near term,” Gates said in an e-mail. “However, the slowdowns continue at the ports, as they have for months.”

Read Entire Story Source: Bloomberg 

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