NEW YORK A potential
strike that would affect 14 ports on the East and Gulf Coasts
might leave the steel industry unscathed as discussions
involving break-bulk shipments remain positive, sources
Longshoremens Association (ILA) union is currently in
labor and wage contract negotiations with the U.S. Maritime
Alliance. If negotiations arent successful, unionized
workers could walk off the job when contracts expire Sept. 30,
leaving hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo unmoved on the
docks. The union last held a major strike in 1977.
But sources handling finished
steel dont seem particularly anxious.
"What were hearing is that
theres a lot of optimism, particularly as it regards to
break-bulk and bulk commodities," one industry source said.
"Whether there are any challenges with negotiations on the
container side, I dont know. (But) containers, for the
most part, (aren't) the preferred steel shipping
Traditional steel-heavy ports on
the East Coast include Houston; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans; New
York; and New Jersey.
A spokeswoman for the Port of
Mobile told AMM that she isnt concerned about a
potential strike, as the union in Mobile has been working with
"We havent had any
concerns, and we dont anticipate any issues down here,"
There is "guarded optimism," a
trader said in echoing that sentiment.
"Any possibility of a work
stoppage is a concern for anyone who imports or exports through
any of the ports," the trader said. "From what I gather ...
this is something thats particularly geared toward
containers. Containers of steel by itself arent that
great a deal (as) the predominance of delivery is still
The next round of negotiations
is scheduled for July 18.