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Cargo Companies Shift Operations away from Montreal amid Rising Strike Fears


Cargo Companies Begin Rerouting Strategies to Avoid Montreal Amid Strike Concerns

In response to growing anxieties over a potential port strike, cargo operations are being strategically shifted away from Montreal. Delmar International, a prominent Quebec-based logistics operation, has taken decisive steps by rerouting its Montreal-bound East Coast freight through the Port of Halifax. This move stands as a precaution aimed at minimizing disruptions that a strike could usher in.

Delmar International, which boasts a global presence with approximately 1,500 employees spread across 17 countries, has made its intentions clear. “While uncertainties persist at the Port of Montreal, Delmar International will reroute all East Coast Montreal-bound cargo via Halifax to limit any negative impact of a potential work stoppage until further notice,” the company conveyed to its clientele. Such developments have emerged following a decisive action by the Canada Industrial Relations Board earlier this month, signaling the possibility of heightened job actions or lockouts post a six-month deliberation period.

The possibility of a looming strike became more apparent when, on Friday, the Maritime Employers Association lodged a complaint with the labour board. The accusation highlighted a ‘bad faith’ stance by the union due to its refusal to resume discussions. “The parties are at an impasse caused by the union’s refusal to negotiate,” detailed the complaint. There’s a ruling from the association for an urgent mediation to facilitate the resumption of negotiations.

Amid these unfolding scenarios, Isabelle Pelletier, a spokeswoman for the Association, expressed deep concerns over the potential repercussions of a strike. The diversion of cargo due to the prevailing uncertainty and potential disruptions at the Port of Montreal has become a significant worry for employers.

This labor strife comes in the backdrop of declining freight volumes and container shipments, which saw a near nine percent drop last year, according to port data. Meanwhile, the dockworkers’ union, representing about 1,200 port workers, has yet to make its stance known regarding the latest developments.

The maritime supply chain across Canada has been no stranger to disruptions, with numerous instances of labor unrest over the past few years. Notable disruptions include the 13-day strike by B.C. dockworkers last summer and the eight-day strike along the St. Lawrence Seaway in October. Montreal, too, faced a significant strike in August 2020, which saw major cargo delays and standoffs.

The current situation has incited a wave of concern among freight forwarders and companies reliant on smooth port operations. “There are great fears that they’ll do a 72-hour strike notice at any point,” commented Julia Kuzeljevich, a spokeswoman for the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association. The uncertainty has prompted many to consider alternative routes, emphasizing the critical need to avoid potential disruptions.

Moreover, the looming threat of labor unrest isn’t confined to the ports. The railway sector, vital for the seamless transport of goods across long distances, has also seen its share of tensions. With mediated negotiations underway between Canada’s main rail companies and their workers, the transport sector remains on edge, anticipating the outcomes of these crucial talks.

The adaptability of Canada’s transport and logistics sector is being tested as companies, and national supply chains brace for the impact of possible strikes. The move by Delmar International may just be the beginning of a larger trend, as businesses across the country seek to navigate through these uncertain waters, aiming to maintain operational continuity amidst the challenges.

Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett is a seasoned business journalist with over a decade of experience covering the global economy, finance, and corporate strategies. With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Business Journalism from Columbia University, Alexandra has built a reputation for her insightful analysis and ability to break down complex economic trends into understandable narratives. Prior to joining our team, she worked for major financial publications in New York and London. Alexandra specializes in mergers and acquisitions, market trends, and economic

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