Representatives of the Steamship Trade Assn. and International Longshoremen's Assn. Local 333 were meeting this morning with hopes of ending a labor strike that began at midnight on Wednesday, crippling the Port of Baltimore and leaving four unloaded cargo ships at terminals, several anchored in the channel and trucks turned away at the gates.

“No trucks are coming in or going out,” said Richard Scher, spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration.

The MPA is not a party to the talks but Scher is hopeful that an agreement can be reached.

“We have done a good job of letting trucking companies know that the Port is closed and not to dispatch trucks,” Scher said.

The Port uses what it calls POB eBroadcast Messages which are email alerts to subscribers updating them on Port operations.

The Port’s closure has had a large economic affect on the Northeast as it was the number one U.S. port for automobile cargo last year, according to Port statistics. It was also the 12th largest in the United States by container volume.