SEATTLE – The Washington Council on International Trade and its members applauded Friday’s announcement that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) approved a contract extension through July 1, 2022. WCIT president Lori Otto Punke stated:

“For Washington businesses to remain globally competitive, is essential that our ports operate as reliable and efficient global gateways. The last port disruption in 2014 and 2015 cost Washington businesses nearly $770 million in near-term losses alone. Our businesses lost international customers and long-term contracts and had to find alternative ways to transport their goods at tremendous expense. Some of our agricultural producers lost entire harvests that spoiled before they could be exported. At WCIT we have advocated for long-term contract extensions and early discussions between port management and the ILWU to prevent this kind of catastrophe from ever happening again, so we welcome today’s news that the ILWU has approved a contract extension for another five years. This will give our businesses and their global customers the certainty they need that our ports will remain open for business.”