After three months of negotiations, there is no agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association that represents port employers at 27 West Coast ports. The contract expired July 1, and the parties did reach a tentative agreement on health benefits Aug. 26. The immediate goal is to avoid serious disruption of trade from East Asia that could have deleterious economic effects throughout the West Coast. A longer-term concern, however, is whether a widened Panama Canal will harm the West Coast economy as more shippers shift to all-water routes through the canal to Gulf Coast and East Coast ports. Read more here.