Nearly half a million tonnes of vehicles and parts transit the port yearly
Labour actions last year saw 21 ships diverted overwhelming alternate ports
The auto industry in Canada continues to face threat after threat, with a potential strike in Montreal the latest after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns and disruptions, microprocessor shortages, and storms in the southern US all adding hurdles to getting new vehicles to customers.
Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal want better schedules and voted against their offer from the Maritime Employers Association earlier this week, Automotive News Canada reports. The union said it doesn’t intend to strike, at least currently, the possibility of a strike remains there, and it could put a stop to operations at one of the largest ports in the country, meaning that auto components and even completed vehicles could be delayed from their final destination for extended periods.
“The situation in Montreal is deeply concerning,” Brian Kingston, head of the Canadian Vehicles Manufacturers’ Association told Auto News Canada. The group represents the interests of Stellantis, GM, and Ford in Canada.
Port statistics show it processed nearly half a million tonnes of vehicles and accessories last year. A series of strikes at the port in 2020 saw nearly two dozen container ships divert to other ports, including Halifax, and affected the equivalent of 80,000 20-foot containers, said the report.
“The good news is that the union has to give 72 hours before a strike, but they say they don’t want to [strike], yet. We’re hopeful they can get back to the table and find some sort of resolution,” Kingston said.
The main complaint, union representative Michel Murray said on local radio, was for schedules that would let workers balance their job with personal lives.