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NRF, RILA applaud tentative port deal


The National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association are celebrating a tentative agreement on a labor dispute that caused problems at 29 West Coast ports.

Retailers have warned for months that the impasse in negotiations was creating an economic challenge, and that a full-scale strike would negatively impact the entire American economy. Farmers and manufacturers were also reporting a heavy toll as agriculture exports suffered and part shortages were leading to factory slowdowns for some automakers.

“After months of congestion and the very real possibility of a debilitating shutdown, retailers are relieved to see a deal in place, and anxious to see the ports up and running at full capacity,” said Kelly Kolb, vice president of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “It will take months for business to return to normal, but this is obviously a huge first step in the right direction.”

While the new contract is a welcome relief, there are other underlying factors and infrastructure challenges that, together, create an unsustainable trajectory for the future operations of our nation’s sea ports. In coming years, freight volumes are expected to double, and the pressure on our nation’s ports and supply chain will only increase.

“As we welcome today’s news, we must dedicate ourselves to finding a new way to ensure that this nightmare scenario is not repeated again,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF. “If we are to truly have modern international trade, supply chain and transportation systems, we must develop a better process for contract negotiations moving forward. We must commit whatever resources necessary to ensure that this will not happen again.”

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