Shipping lines say cost will rise $800 per container if no contract reached.
Two months after superstorm Sandy shut down New Jersey’s ports, shipping lines, trucking companies and other port users are bracing for a blow that some say could be just as disruptive: a longshoremen’s strike.
Since talks between the International Longshoremen’s Association and a coalition of shipping companies broke down last week, port users have increasingly focused on what will happen if no agreement is reached by the Dec. 29 union-imposed deadline.
The contract covers 20,000 workers at 15 East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, including 5,000 in New York and New Jersey, mostly in Newark and Elizabeth, who voted in August to strike if the existing contract expires without a deal. A strike would be the first at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports since 1977.
Several months ago, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey estimated that a strike would cost the region $136 million a week in personal income and another $110 million in economic output.