Unions have agreed to end the strike at the Port of Montreal, which had shut down the second busiest container port in Canada and resulted in vessel diversions to terminals in Halifax and Saint John as well as the US.
With the Montreal Longshore Union (CUPE 375) and the Checkers Union (ILA) agreeing a seven-month truce, operations at Montreal’s terminals were expected to resume on Sunday August 23.
A statement from Hapag-Lloyd noted: “It will take some weeks to clear the backlog of vessels and cargo in the terminals which were impacted because of this interruption. Both railroads will need to re-adjust their networks to reinstate normal operations in Montreal while at the same time clear the backlogs in both Saint John and Halifax.
“Prioritising one container over another will not be practical and should be avoided as the terminals strive to maximise efficiency as they work through the import stacks.”
The longshore workers’ union has argued for better scheduling, claiming that asking workers to be on call for 19 out of every 21 days denies them a work-life balance.
The Montreal Port Authority had stated that work stoppages would create delays in handling goods for Canadian companies, especially exporters, and therefore oblige many exports companies to lease warehouses or choose a different supply chain, if they are unable to move their goods internationally out of the Port of Montreal.
This would also force international shipping lines to reroute certain vessels, sometimes to competing US ports, resulting in higher costs for businesses and, ultimately, consumers, it added.