Soy Growers Urge Unions and Ports to Resume Negotiations, Avoid Trade Disruptions

Soy growers are urging labor union and port management to resume negotiations and avoid disruptions of Gulf and East Coast port operations—which could impact agricultural and food product exports to main markets

The American Soybean Association (ASA) joined several agriculture and global trade stakeholders in a letter last week, encouraging the International Longshore Association and the United States Maritime Alliance to resume negotiations as soon as possible.

“Reaching a contract extension before the current contract expires will provide supply chain stakeholders with the certainty they need for their operations,” groups state in the letter. “Supply chain disruptions arising out of previous contract negotiations are well documented. Such disruptions can have enormous adverse economic impacts.”

The 2015 dispute during negotiations threatened supply chain continuity for countless U.S. agricultural commodities, causing extreme congestion, delays and uncertainty, in addition to costing the agriculture industry millions of dollars for every week that the negotiations lasted.

The groups also stated that even a threat of disruption can have a negative economic impact, as some industries will implement contingency plans this spring to ensure shipment isn’t slowed.

“We recognize the important issues both parties must resolve during negotiations,” the state in the letter. “However, we believe those issues can only be resolved by negotiations. When talks are put on hold it causes great uncertainty, shifts in logistical plans and even economic damage.”

Click here to read the entire letter.