S.C. International Trade Conference attendees networked and talked to vendors and exhibitors between sessions of the conference held this week at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
By Matt Tomsic
Published Sept. 19, 2012
Attendees at the S.C. International Trade Conference heard updates on the Panama Canal expansion and labor negotiations between dockworkers and ocean carriers during the conference’s first full day of events Tuesday on the Isle of Palms.
Visitors got a hands-on look at some of the latest port and logistics technology during the S.C. International Trade Conference this week on the Isle of Palms. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
Aleman said the canal serves almost every route around the world, and the main route used by shippers traveling through the canal is from Asia to the East Coast. The canal now fits a ship carrying 4,500 20-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs, a common industry measurement. After the expansion, a 13,000 TEU ship will be able to travel through the canal.
Aleman said the East Coast ports will be some of the main beneficiaries of the Panama Canal’s expansion.
Joseph Bonney, senior editor of the Journal of Commerce, updated attendees about the labor negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, which represents the shipping carriers.
Bonney said the two sides are set to resume talks today after negotiations stalled on Aug. 22. The two sides are trying to reach an agreement on a new six-year labor contract. The current contract is set to expire at the end of September.
Bonney said he wouldn’t put money on them reaching an agreement by Sept. 30, and the fallout could include work stoppages or a temporary contract extension.
In July, Bonney said, the two sides reached agreement on two key issues: chassis management and automation. The agreement preserved the longshoremen’s jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair and allowed temporary payments for dockworkers displaced by automation.
The talks broke down in August, though, during negotiations about compensation practices.