The Port of Montreal is expected to reopen Sunday after longshore workers and employers agreed to a seven-month truce that will end an 11-day strike.
The Maritime Employers Association (MEA) and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing longshore workers, announced the truce on Friday. Both sides voiced optimism that they can agree on a new contract before the seven months ends.
“We are truly confident we will reach a deal,” Martin Tessier, MEA president, told reporters in Montreal.
Canada’s second-largest port is set to reopen on Sunday pending final negotiations between the MEA and the union.
“It will take two to four weeks to recover,” Tessier said.
Longshore workers went on strike at the port on Aug 10. Without a contract since 2018, they are seeking higher wages and changes to hours and working conditions.
Businesses and some politicians had been growing increasingly alarmed at the port strike and impacts on the supply chain as vessels diverted to other ports, mainly Halifax. The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected calls to intervene.
Intermodal trucking company found silver linings from Port of Montreal strike
Corey Darbyson, director of Transport DSquare, an intermodal trucking company that services the port, welcomed the tentative agreement.
“It’s going to help maintain the supply chain and give people a paycheck,” Darbyson said.
He expects the impacts of the strike will be relatively short-lived. Darbyson noted, “Montreal is a port city.”
DSquare managed to find some silver linings from the disruption. While the carrier took a hit from the falloff in incoming vessels, it picked up a lot of business of hauling containers to Halifax that CN and Canadian Pacific railways couldn’t accommodate.
“It was good for us in some ways,” Darbyson said. “It created a little turmoil and gave us some very good spot rates and we were able to compensate for some of our losses.”