CN adjusts operations amid strike at Port of Montreal

A photograph of a train with hauling intermodal containers at a rail yard.

Canadian railway CN (NYSE: CNI) is relying on port terminals in Halifax and elsewhere on the East Coast as longshore workers continue to strike at the Port of Montreal.

“We are monitoring the situation at the Port of Montreal closely and we are in regular contact with the responsible authorities. While we wish the parties [would] reach an agreement quickly, we are adjusting our operations in order to continue to provide service to our customers,” CN told FreightWaves.

Those adjustments entail “leveraging [the] network by using port terminals in Halifax and elsewhere on the East Coast to continue importing and exporting goods that are vital for the economy,” CN said.

FreightWaves reported earlier this week that vessels bound for Montreal are being diverted and containers already there are sitting at the port. Although the port has said the strike would not affect liquid bulk handling, the Oceanex service at Bickerdike Terminal and the Viterra grain terminal, some vessels have been diverted to other ports, such as the Ports of St. John and Halifax. 

Meanwhile, Canadian government officials said the government wouldn’t intervene in the strike, which involves longshore members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 375 and the Maritime Employers Association. The union, which has engaged in four walkouts since July 1, began this latest strike on Monday, August 10. Work-life balance reportedly has been a point of contention in the negotiations.

According to the port website, the Port of Montreal operates its own railway network, with 60 miles of track and direct access to various berths, and it has a rail interchange zone.The port’s on-dock rail system connects to both CN and Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP). 

Kim Link-Wills contributed to this report.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

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