July 7, 2015 ILA and USMX Plan Early Contract Extension Talks After watching the West Coast recently go through extensive negotiations that led to severe port congestion, the ILA and USMX on the Gulf and East Coast are looking to get a jump start on their own contract talks. In a joint statement with the two parties involved, the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), announced that they, “concluded two days of productive exploratory talks on extending the current Master Contract and will begin full wage scale meetings in mid-September, 2015.” The current ILA and USMX Master Contract does not expire until September 2018, but most in the industry are very pleased the two groups are getting an early to start these difficult negotiations. “We are ready to move forward on talks aimed at extending the current ILA and USMX Master Contract,” said Harold J. Daggett, ILA President and David F. Adam, USMX Chief Executive Officer, in a joint statement. The two groups also reinforced to the industry that, “The ILA and USMX are committed to keeping commerce moving at United States Eastern and Gulf Coast ports and we think this extension will achieve that goal.” After receiving much of the diverted cargo from the West Coast, the Gulf and East Coast look to establish themselves as a sustainable, long-term option for shippers. The two sides have agreed to try to extend their contract by up to seven years. If this happens it could help them instill confidence in shippers trying to find a long-term and dependable route for their freight. Odyssey will be sure to keep you up to date over the course of these negotiations and will advise you as necessary.