TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – It’s business as usual at Port Miami and Port Everglades after a planned work stoppage by cargo crews was narrowly averted.

The shutdown of major ports along the gulf and east coast was delayed for at least 30 days after federal negotiators announced that parties would continue talks beyond a Saturday strike deadline.

Contract talks between shippers and longshoremen handling containerized cargo threatened to affect 15 ports including Port Miami, Port Everglades and the Port of Jacksonville after the existing contract expired in October.

Representatives of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance signed off in principle on royalty payments, a major sticking point of the overall collective bargaining agreement, said Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen.

“While some significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the upcoming 30-day extension period,” Cohen said in a statement.

Last week Gov. Rick Scott joined port officials in calling for resolution to the dispute, saying Florida would be especially harmed if container cargo shipments were halted or delayed.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.


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