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September 27, 2016 3:00 PM, EDT

West Coast Labor, Management to Discuss Contract Extension

Bob Riha Jr./Reuters

The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, whose protracted labor dispute disrupted trucking and port operations early in 2015, have targeted Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 for talks to address a potential contract extension.

The union and the management group, which have been under pressure from ocean carrier customers to work on extending the contract, disclosed the meetings in a joint statement that said the parties “have agreed to discuss the concept of a contract extension.”

The existing deal, which extends until July 2019, resulted after the cargo slowdowns escalated over a four-month period. A tentative agreement was reached in February after prodding from the U.S. Labor Department. At its worst, cargo flow was reduced by about 50%. On a typical day, about 30,000 container shipments travel through those ports.

The brief statement also said “no additional comments from either party will be made prior to the talks. Following the talks, a statement may be issued."

Shippers also have been pressing for a contract extension on the East and Gulf Coasts, so far without any results.