Slow progress for LA automation negotiations

APM Terminals Los Angeles Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is leading talks to resolve a dispute over APM Terminals' modernisation plan. Credit: APM Terminals

Negotiations for an agreement on APM Terminals' modernisation plan at the Port of Los Angeles' Pier 400 are in progress and being led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The office of Mr Garcetti confirmed that talks are ongoing with the aim of ending the dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and APM Terminals over the latter's application for a permit to begin work on a project to introduce driverless electric cargo trucks.

A spokesperson said: "Mayor Garcetti has convened the ILWU and APM Terminals. Discussions are ongoing."

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners decided to delay a vote on the permit last month, after union officials voiced their protest and Mr Garcetti called for a 28-day delay with an offer to mediate the dispute. This month, the Commissioners delayed the vote for a second time when Mr Garcetti requested more time to negotiate a deal between APM Terminals and the ILWU.

A 2008 International Longshore and Warehouse Union contract, renewed in 2015, explicitly allowed West Coast ports to continue automating, but workers are concerned the plan for landside infrastructure to operate battery-electric powered equipment will put jobs at risk.

APM Terminals previously said that the plan will help keep the Port of Los Angeles competitive, while protecting business and jobs.

Neither APM Terminals or the ILWU has commented on the negotiations process.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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