But with time so short, companies are pushing up shipment dates or finding alternative transportation, said Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the Washington-based American Apparel and Footwear Association.
Companies are already worried about restocking after the holidays, and some are still dealing with the effects of the West Coast shutdown and Superstorm Sandy, he said.
"You've already got companies and ports and trade that have been battered by a couple of situations over the last couple of months, and we still have this uncertainty," Lamar said.
In Philadelphia, port executive Robert Blackburn estimates a strike could affect 60 percent of the tonnage the port handles.
"Frankly, there's not a lot we can do except that hope that cooler heads prevail and, if they don't, perhaps there will be intervention by the president," Blackburn said.
Associated Press writers Eileen AJ Connelly in New York and Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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