The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) announced on December 28, 2012, that the parties had agreed in principle on terms to resolve the container royalty payment issue and to extend the negotiating process on the overall collective bargaining agreement until January 28, 2013. A strike by the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), which would have affected U.S. ports from Maine to Texas, was set to begin on December 30, 2012. The United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents ocean carriers, and the ILA were successful in reaching the interim contract deal in the final hours of negotiations. With resolution of the contentious container royalty payment issue, it is expected that the parties will work out the remaining issues by January 28.