According to reports, negotiations between a maritime workers union and the United States Maritime Alliance have failed, meaning a strike could be looming at the Port of Mobile.

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) wants to eliminate the use of automated technology to process trucks at port terminals. They believe machines are replacing humans at the ports.

The ILA claimed that APM Terminals and Maersk Line were using a so-called "Auto Gate system," which autonomously processes trucks without ILA labor. The system was initially identified at the Port of Mobile, but the union said it is also being used at other ports.

“Here we go again! This is another example of USMX members unilaterally circumventing our coast-wide Master Contract," ILA president Harold J. Daggett said in a press release. "This is a clear violation of our agreement with USMX, and we will not tolerate it any longer,” the union said in its release. “There’s no point trying to negotiate a new agreement with USMX when one of its major companies continues to violate our current agreement with the sole aim of eliminating ILA jobs through automation."

The current contract ends in September, and if an agreement isn’t reached, around 45,000 unionized workers plan to strike.

If that happens, imports will likely be rerouted to the West Coast, meaning shipments could take longer and be more expensive. Strikes in the past have also caused major backlogs of goods.

A similar situation occurred in 2023 when the ILA struggled to settle on an agreement representing West Coast terminals. In that case, an agreement was reached by June.

Maritime reporters have been concerned about a looming strike on the East and Gulf coasts since December.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning or become a member to gain access to exclusive content and 1819 News merch.