The International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance were urged by the US retailers to continue negotiations to avoid a possible nationwide port workers strike.

A strike in the current scenario could be hugely detrimental to the US economy, especially the retail sector, said the industry body National Retail Federation.

The two opposing parties – Longshoremen’s Association and Maritime have been locked in longstanding talks over the last few months and yet failed to arrive at a consensus.

A possible strike comes in the wake of the deadlock in Washington over the extension of tax cuts to middle income American.

Statement released by the NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold termed the developments disheartening and urged both sides to remain at the negotiating table.

"It is imperative that both sides verbally announce their intentions to return to the negotiations.

"A coast-wide port shutdown would have a significant impact across all businesses and industries that rely on the ports, particularly retail," said Gold.

The NRF has urged US President Barack Obama to take necessary to ensure there is no lockdown of ports and advocated the invoking of the Taft-Hartley Act restricting the activities and power of labor unions.

"The last thing the economy needs right now is another strike, which would impact all international trade and commerce at the nation’s East and Gulf Coast container ports.

"This is truly a ‘container cliff’ in the making," concluded Gold.