Strike action that would have frozen major shipping movements in Gladstone, in central Queensland, has been averted.
Smit Marine has a monopoly on towing large ships in and out of Gladstone Harbour.
The company has been involved in an eight-month pay dispute with three unions, which had planned a week-long strike.
However, the company has consented to mediation with Fair Work Australia, thus averting the strike, which would have put a halt to coal and liquefied natural gas exports from Gladstone.
The Maritime Union of Australia's Ian Bray praised the move.
"You've still got to get back to the table at the end of the day to resolve [it], so for us it's a positive sign," he said.
Mr Bray says negotiations should occur soon.
"We'll withdraw the action that we've indicated we'd planned to take while we go back to the table with Fair Work Australia and I understand that the correspondence that has been written, they've requested that be a period of three weeks," he said.
Martin Byrne from the Institute of Marine and Power Engineers hopes for a quick resolution.
"We want it to be a quick process that starts promptly," he said.
The Maritime Officers Union could not be reached for comment.