Status of US West Coast Port Dispute Unclear

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 20, 2015

Photo: Port of Los Angeles

Photo: Port of Los Angeles

The status of a dispute between shipping executives and union leaders for dock workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports was unclear on Friday, with the Journal of Commerce, which earlier reported a deal may have been reached, saying conflicting reports had emerged on the status of the nine-month-old talks.

"There is no deal as it stands right now," Journal of Commerce Chief Content Officer Peter Tirschwell told Reuters.

"Pace of negotiations quickening as source close to the talks says no deal yet despite several others this AM saying a deal was in hand," the Journal reported in a tweet.

CNBC Television, in a tweet, said the ports have not reached a deal, citing a source.

The JOC is now hearing "conflicting reports" on whether a deal was reached last night, it said in a tweet. Earlier it had

tweeted word of a deal had been spreading, citing unnamed sources.

Calls by Reuters to the U.S. Labor Department for comment were not immediately returned.

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez joined the talks in San Francisco on Tuesday at the behest of President Barack Obama, who has come under growing pressure to intervene in a dispute that has rippled through the trans-Pacific commercial supply chain and could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, representing 20,000 dock workers, has been locked in negotiations for nine months with the bargaining agent for shippers and terminal operators, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

Tensions arising from the talks have played out in worsening cargo congestion that has severely slowed freight traffic at ports that handle nearly half of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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