Washington: A US Senate Commerce Committee approved by majority voice vote on Thursday the Port Performance Act, meaning the measure moves on to possible future debates on the floor of Congress.
This Act requires the government to report on the performance of major US port operations including during labour contract talks.
Labour activists and Democrat politicians expressed concern that the bill opens the way for possible federal intervention in contract talks.
They see a political dimension to the bill, coming as it does not long after a nine-month labour dispute which caused disruption of activity at the West Coast’s 29 major ports and cost the economy many billions of dollars.
Backers of the measure say it will help Congress analyse supply trends and identify freight bottlenecks by requiring Department of Transportation data on capacity levels and cargo volumes at the ports.