WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today called on the U.S. Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association to work together to avoid a one-day shutdown of East Coast and Gulf Coast ports proposed by the ILA.
"Thousands of companies and millions of workers rely on these ports and any disruption to their activity even for a day could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy."Jon Gold
NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy
“Thousands of companies and millions of workers rely on these ports and any disruption to their activity even for a day could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jon Gold said. “While the union might have concerns with certain local government actions, engaging in a coastwide shutdown is not the answer. We encourage labor and management to work together and with the government to arrive at a solution that does not disrupt the efficient movement of goods through the nation’s ports.”
“We applaud the fact that the ILA and the U.S. Maritime Alliance have begun informal discussions on a contract extension well in advance of the current contract expiration, but proposing a shutdown runs counter to this spirit of cooperation and may threaten this positive action,” Gold said. “We urge the ILA to reconsider its plans and avoid damaging the image of East Coast and Gulf Coast ports as reliable business partners for retailers and other shippers.”
Maritime trade publications have reported this week that the ILA is planning a one-day shutdown and march on Washington to protest “government interference” by the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and state port operators in the Southeast. No date for the proposed shutdown has been announced.
NRF’s most recent monthly Global Port Tracker report forecasts that imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to increase 4.6 percent during the first half of 2017 over the same period last year as the nation’s economy improves and retail sales continue to grow.
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com