Business calls for immediate re-opening of Port of Montreal.

July 22, 2010 PRESS RELEASE

A coalition of associations representing thousands of Canadian businesses and their millions of employees are calling on the federal government to immediately intervene in the labour conflict at the Port of Montreal to end the dispute so that normal business operations resume immediately.

“The sudden and unexpected closure of the Port of Montreal last Monday is having a wide and negative impact on business across North America,” says Jayson Myers, President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. “This work stoppage threatens to derail the fragile North American economic recovery by shutting down manufacturing plants in both Canada and the United States within days.”

Maritime shipping is a critical link in Canadian businesses’ global supply chains and as Canada’s second largest port by volume, the Port of Montreal is a key gateway for both imports and exports of goods traded between North America and the world. Redirecting shipments to other ports is simply not practical as it disrupts supply chains, delays shipments and leads to added costs, penalties for missed delivery schedules and loss of future business to competitors. Moreover, it does not help with essential shipments currently being held in Montreal.

According to Hon. Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, “the disruption at the Port of Montreal has serious implications for businesses large and small across Canada. We urge both parties to work together to resume services immediately.”

Ensuring that the port is open to traffic is critical to preserving Canada’s reputation as a reliable North American gateway. Past labour disputes at other North American ports have demonstrated that even the perception that a port is unreliable due to labour problems can have a long lasting negative impact.

“The impact will not only be felt at Canadian facilities, but auto manufacturing plants will be closed across Canada and the United States as a result of the port closure. This will cause a significant ripple effect throughout the integrated automotive supply chain right across North America, with significant negative economic consequences,” states Mark Nantais, President of Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association.

“The potential impact on small and agri-business cannot be overstated,” adds Dan Kelly, Senior Vice President, Legislative Affairs of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “Delays can significantly affect the availability of products available at smaller retailers and, in turn, their ability to retain staff. Coming out of a recession, a port closure could affect the very viability of small exporters or farmers.”

Retail operations will also be significantly negatively impacted due to the amount of imports entering North America through Montreal and shipped to stores across Canada and into the United States. Delays in reopening will impact the availability of a wide variety of goods that consumers purchase every day at retail outlets.

The coalition of association endorsing this statement includes:

  • Aerospace Industry Association of Canada
  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers Canadian
  • Chamber of Commerce Canadian
  • Consumer Specialty Products Association
  • Canadian Federation of Independent Business
  • Canadian Fertilizer Institute
  • Canadian Foundry Association
  • Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association
  • Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
  • Canadian Society of Customs Brokers
  • Canadian Steel Producers Association
  • Canadian Tooling & Machining Association
  • Canadian Transportation Equipment Association
  • Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association
  • Electro-Federation Canada
  • Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec
  • I.E. Canada, Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters
  • Food & Consumer Products of Canada
  • Forest Products Association of Canada Spirits Canada / Association of Canadian Distillers
  • Trillium Medical Technology Association.

For further information please contact:

Jean Michel Laurin
Vice President, Global Business Policy
613.238.8888, ext. 4238

Mark Nantais
Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association