"A coast-wide port shutdown is not an option. It would have severe economic ramifications for the local, national and even global economies and wreak havoc on the supply chain," said National Retail Federation President Matthew Shay.
White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said: "We're pleased the parties are going to continue their work at the negotiating table and continue to urge them to reach an agreement as quickly as possible."
Major ports that would have been frozen included the massive terminals serving the New York City area and critical seaports in Savannah, Ga., Houston, and Hampton Roads, Va.
Other ports that would have been affected are in Boston; the Philadelphia area; Baltimore; Wilmington, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Miami; Tampa, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; and New Orleans.
Longshoremen on the West Coast have a separate contract.