US WEST coast labour contract talks will begin between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on May 12 over a two-week period in order to negotiate a new contract effective July 1.
Following delays on contract talks between the PMA and ILWU, other interested parties such as the National Retail Federation has recommended speeding up contract negotiations in order to produce a new contract by end of June.
NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said the negotiations are essential for "all of the import and export and related industries who rely on these ports to move the nation's commerce", reported American Shipper.
Lloyd's List reported that the Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement, a rate setting shipping conference wrote to the PMA to ask for talks to be brought forward.
But this scenario looks unlikely as moves to hold talks early in the past have failed to speed up the process. In 2008 talks started in mid-March but were still not concluded by the time the contract expired.
"From March to the beginning of June, we got nothing done," PMA chief executive James Mckenna told the recent Trans-Pacific Maritime conference. "There was no pressure to move."
Mr Mckenna also said he did not expect strike action this time round, although he did not expect negotiations to be concluded by the June 30 deadline.
Source : HKSG.