Monday, July 19, 2010

More Boxes for Halifax?

News that the Port of Montreal has locked out its longshoremen as of 8 o'clock this morning has created some buzz in Halifax.
Since the Montreal workers belong to CUPE and not the ILA it is unlikely that Halifax workers will respect the Montreal workers position, so Halifax would probably work diverted ships.
Press reports indicate that container lines serving Montreal are diverting their ships to New York and Norfolk - no mention was made of Halifax.
It seems likely that several lines will indeed go to US ports, to further distance themselves from union sympathy, but Halifax would make sense for a couple of the lines including Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd that have a presence here already.
Montreal longshoremen have been compensated whether they work or not - giving a guaranteed wage and job. The Montreal employers association wants to change the system to a pay for hours work arrangement.
This may be a long dispute, and Halifax may benefit, directly or indirectly.

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