Baltimore’s port ceased operations as 2,000 union longshoremen walked off the job in a contract dispute, hindering imported cargo that included autos from Mazda and BMW.
The closure puts pressure on the supply chain as Baltimore lures auto contracts away from east coast ports in New York and New Jersey. Mazda signed a five-year contract in August that will bring as many as 65,000 vehicles a year to the port from Japan, while Fiat plans to ship 30,000 autos there.
“If an agreement can be reached within the next day or two, we don’t think there will be a huge economic impact,” Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration, said in an interview. “If it continues a week or two weeks, then you’re looking at some significant economic impacts.”
“Like everyone else who uses the Port of Baltimore we’re hoping the strike is short and that business as usual returns as soon as possible,” said Ken Sparks, a spokesman for BMW North America. “Baltimore is one of our three ports on the East Coast and of course we always have contingency plans should any location not be available for a period of time.”
The Port of Baltimore is the 12th largest in the U.S. by container volume, and one of the top ten employment centers in the state, according to the Maryland Port Administration’s most recent annual report.
) - Thursday, October 17th, 2013 - filed under BMW
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