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Houston ILA Rule Irks Steel Shippers
Steel importers in Houston are upset by a longshore contract rule that prohibits many palletized cargoes in the port from being discharged directly from ship to truck or railcar.
The rule has been enforced since the International Longshoremen's Association and West Gulf Maritime Association attached a memorandum of understanding to their new contract, which took effect December 1.
Importers, customs brokers and other port-related businesses have complained that the restrictions on "direct discharge" will result in diversion of cargo to other ports.
"The union wants job security, but this won't give it to them," said Peter Brebach, president of Houston-based Steel Consulting International and of the Texas Steel Importers Association.
"They're just running business out of the port," said Juan Cardenas, president of Transmar Distribution Services, which handles steel shipments from Japanese manufacturers.
Result of Negotiations. The ILA demanded the memorandum in …