By: The Working Forest Staff
OTTAWA, FPAC – Resource industry groups have united to demand the federal government intervene in the ongoing Port of Montreal strike. After a protracted rail strike in November, rail blockades in February, and the ongoing and significant supply chain disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Montreal strike is exacerbating an already stressful situation by bringing the shipping of essential items like minerals, metals, forest products and fuel to a standstill in the region.
“Mining is a leading customer at the Port of Montreal, moving large volumes of iron ore, nickel, gypsum, and recycled metal to smelters and refineries in the region. On the backdrop of massive supply chain disruption, and unprecedented reputational damage to Canada as a reliable international trading partner, this strike and the lack of effective action to resolve it demonstrates an incomprehensible inability to prioritize Canada’s economic recovery in one of our country’s greatest times of need,” said Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC). “If the government wants to attract advanced manufacturing investment for battery and electric vehicle manufacturing needed to support the transition to a lower-carbon economy, a reliable and efficient logistics supply chain is essential.”
A marine transportation stoppage at Canada’s largest eastern port significantly impacts the ability to bring essential inputs to companies that rely on them, and the capacity to move products and by-products to down-stream customers. To quell mounting damage to the fragile regional and national economy, and further harm to the country’s reputation as a reliable trading partner, industry groups are urging the government to take any and all action necessary to address this work stoppage.
“The Port of Montreal is an absolutely critical infrastructure to Canada’s forest products sector. We export hundreds of products globally and receive shipments from abroad every single day,” confirmed Derek Nighbor, president, and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). “We estimate that this disruption has already imposed nearly $1 million US dollars in additional costs and lost sales for our sector in Ontario and Quebec– and this is at a time when we are facing high lumber demand and a struggling pulp and paper sector because of COVID-19. This disruption is challenging our ability to deliver to our customers and keep our people working. We need the federal government to deploy every resource to bring this dispute to resolution.”