The looming threat of a strike at U.S. ports from Maine to Texas receded this afternoon when a 90-day contract extension was announced, extending the current agreement between shippers and unionized dock workers to Dec. 29.

The International Longshoremen’s Union had threatened to go on strike when the current contract expired just 10 days from now. The threat followed a breakdown in labor talks last month.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which is mediating contract talks that resumed Wednesday, announced the agreement to extend the contract and continue negotiating.

George H. Cohen, director of the FMCS, said the U.S. Maritime Alliance and International Longshoremen’s Association agreed to the contract extension “for the good of the country” to avoid any interruption in interstate commerce.

Retail industry groups have warned that a shutdown of East Coast and Gulf Coast ports could wreak havoc on importers and the U.S. economy.

Read more in Friday’s editions of The Post and Courier. Follow David Slade on Twitter @DSladeNews.