Port of Montreal announces “indefinite general strike”

Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Source: American Journal of Transportation

Port of Montreal announces “indefinite general strike”

The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) is very concerned, especially during this pandemic and time of economic crisis, about the serious impacts resulting from the strike episodes by dockworkers at the Port of Montreal, including the indefinite general notice that the Longshoremen Union, CUPE Local 375, sent to the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) this morning.

This 72 hours’ advance notice is for an indefinite general strike that will start on Monday, August 10 at 7 a.m., resulting in the suspension of berthage services normally provided by longshoremen/longshorewomen and the handling of goods in the Port of Montreal terminals. The following will not be affected by this situation: liquid bulk handling, the Oceanex service (Bickerdike Terminal) and the grain terminal (Viterra). The Montreal Port Authority invites clients to contact the various terminal operators or check online to find out more about their situation.

The MPA is very concerned about these work stoppages affecting public health and safety during a global pandemic, as port operations are essential to keep the economy running smoothly and to supply food and other essential products. A prolonged stoppage in port operations has major repercussions for Canadian businesses that depend on international trade and, ultimately, for the supply of goods and services to the public.

Large impact

This indefinite strike, staring Monday morning, is the fourth work stoppage by dockworkers at the Port of Montreal since July 2, 2020.

A strike with no time limit will aggravate the impact already hitting the Port of Montreal, which is the driving force behind an ecosystem of 6,300 transport businesses and the source of 19,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.

With delays lasting several months for all port operations and Greater Montreal’s supply chain, which serves Quebec, Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, the work stoppages, past and future, more specifically cause the following effects:

  • Create long delays in handling goods for Canadian companies, especially exporters (as of Monday, no handling of containerized goods and dry bulk, except for the Oceanex service and grain);
  • Oblige many export 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;
  • Force international shipping lines to reroute certain vessels, sometimes to competing U.S. ports, resulting in higher costs for businesses and, ultimately, consumers.


The MPA fervently hopes that this labour dispute will be resolved and that the federal government continues to intervene and do everything necessary to help the parties reach an agreement, as soon as possible.

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