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Container ships on schedule as US strike averted

Local importers were relieved to hear that a strike by US port workers has been temporarily averted.

Longshoremen in New Jersey had threatened to strike on Saturday over container royalties, a move that would have impacted container ship schedules for Bermuda.

Bermuda Container Line vice president Howard Pitcher confirmed the

Oleander is expected to leave New Jersey on Friday, arriving January 7 as scheduled.

BCL was informed on Friday morning that negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the Employers Group on the US East Coast would continue as a result of a 30-day extension on the initial notice of strike action.

The two sides walked away from the negotiating table without an agreement in place earlier last week.

A BCL statement said: “We anticipate that both sides will come to an agreement prior to the end of this 30-day extension. We will continue to keep you informed of any news we receive as soon as we receive it.”

A statement was also issued by the US Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, via BCL.

Director George Cohen said: “The container royalty payment issue has been agreed upon in principle by the parties, subject to achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement.

"The parties have further agreed to an additional extension of 30 days (ie until midnight, January 28) during which time the parties shall negotiate all remaining outstanding master agreement issues, including those relating to New York and New Jersey.

“Given that negotiations will be continuing and consistent with the Agency’s commitment of confidentiality to the parties, FMCS shall not disclose the substance of the container royalty payment agreement.

"What I can report is that the agreement on this important subject represents a major positive step toward achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement.

"While some significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the upcoming 30-day extension period.”

A strike by US port workers, which could have potentially impacted Bermuda, has been temporarily averted

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Published December 31, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 30, 2012 at 10:48 pm)

Container ships on schedule as US strike averted

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