PortandTerminal.com, August 18, 2020
MONTREAL – The strike by longshore workers at the Port of Montreal entered its ninth day Tuesday as negotiations continued between management and the union with no end in sight.
Both the provinces of Ontario and Quebec are requesting assistance from Canada’s federal government to help resolve the labor dispute at the Port of Montreal, which is interfering with the port’s cargo flow.
In their letter, addressed to federal Labour Minister Filomena Tassi and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, the ministers say they are “concerned” by the effects of the strike on the economic supply chains of Quebec and Ontario and in eastern Canada.
“2020 has been gruelling for retailers and they can’t afford extra transportation charges on top of everything else” the Retail Council of Canada tweeted as they also called upon Canadian Labour Minister Filomena Tassi to help resolve the dispute.
For now though, the Canadian government has decided to not get involved.
“Our government has faith in the collective bargaining process, as we know the best deals are made at the table,” Canadian Labour Minister Tassi said in a statement Monday.
The Port of Montreal estimates that approximately 90,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) are either stranded on its docks or aboard the fifteen or so container ships rerouted to other ports.
They also estimate that close to 325,000 more tonnes of dry bulk could be impacted by the situation if it persists over the next few weeks.
The strike does not affect grain shipments, nor cargoes for Newfoundland and Labrador, in line with an order from Canada’s Industrial Relations Board. Neither will it affect petroleum cargoes, according to the port.
“The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) deplores this indefinite strike as Port activities are essential to keep the economy running and, during this global pandemic, to ensure public health and safety. Importers and exporters in Quebec and Ontario alike are being significantly impacted by this strike.” (Port of Montreal statement).
The Port of Montreal is the leading port in the region and the only container port on the St. Lawrence. It handles about $75 billion in cargo annually and generates $2 billion in economic activity, handling about 2,000 port calls per year. About 6,000 transport companies depend upon its operations.
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