While West Coast seaports struggle to keep up with billions of dollars of cargo nearly six months after their old deal expired, dockworkers and their employers are still not close to a new contract. Longshoremen have continued to work without a contract at 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle that are a vital trade link with Asia. According to U.S. trade data, the ports handled $892 billion in imports and exports during 2013. The hardest hit have been U.S. exporters of apples, potatoes and other produce, who can't get their perishable goods to foreign markets in time. Negotiators for the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union met Thursday in San Francisco. Neither side is publicly discussing what is happening behind closed doors, though each says negotiations are ongoing. So far, the only concrete progress was a tentative agreement on health care costs -- a deal that came in August.