Baltimore’s port, a major access point for BMW and Mazda into the US, restarted activity on Saturday after an agreement was reached to temporarily extend local contracts. Longshoremen had partially resumed work earlier that day, but still had the car shipments idled.
Workers returned to work after a 90-day extension on local contracts after negotiations between Local 333 of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore Inc., according to Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration. The extension ends the walk out and all cargo will be processed, added Scher.
Baltimore’s Local 333 announced a strike on Oct. 15 after talks with the Steamship Trade Association over its local contract soured, the deal covering the handling of items such as automobiles, said Jim McNamara, a spokesman for the ILA. The other three local unions, including 1429, which actually had no contract issues, joined 333 in the strike. Local 333 is the only local union that handles cars, Scher also said.
A shipment of Mazda vehicles that was due in Baltimore today was also delayed en route for other issues, unrelated to the strike, said Nick Beard, a spokesman for the carmaker. Mazda agreed to a five-year contract in August that would see as much as 65,000 vehicles a year brought through the port from Japan. Baltimore also handles auto shipments from BMW, Fiat and Mercedes-Benz.