Montreal Port Strike and shipping update

Below you will find the latest update on operational and seasonal conditions that are likely to affect the movement of shipments in or out of US / Canadian ports. 


Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal have initiated a partial strike in response to recent developments in the negotiations with the Maritime Employers Association (MEA).  Starting Tuesday April 13, 2021, the labor union will not work any weekends or overtime shifts during weekdays.

South America

The Chilean government has recently imposed additional covid restrictions / lockdowns.  Sanitary controls are increasing and this is impacting the normal flow of cargo to/from warehouses and suppliers.  Port productivity at Chilean ports has been reduced resulting in cancelled vessel port calls and further delays.  Ocean carriers are also responding to the ongoing congestion at US West Coast port and are restricting space on services.   Allow for a minimum of 8 weeks in advance for bookings.  Plan ahead for additional delays for cross-Andes routings to Chile; transport closures and delays due to snow and ice typically occur between May and September.    


Due to ongoing port congestion on the US West Coast, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) will modify their Ocean Loop 1 service.  The service will replace the scheduled weekly port calls at Oakland with fortnightly service in effort to improve schedule reliability.  For importers alternative shipping lines and longer lead times should be considered.  


Demand for bookings from Europe to North America remains extremely strong.  Ocean carriers are facing a backlog of bookings, in the thousands, across Europe and in some cases are placing restrictions or holds on new bookings or skipping scheduled port calls on various loops.  The congestion at ports, container availability (impacted in this region more heavily by the recent Suez Canal delays), and delays continue.  Rate levels are extremely high and bunker (fuel) costs are increasing. 

North America

Los Angeles / Long Beach, Oakland and Vancouver ports continue to have vessel wait times over a week, with labor shortages (due to safety protocols) and terminal yards at full capacity. East Coast ports are faring better with congestion in comparison with the exception of Savannah where delays range between 72-120 hours due to capacity limits and intermittent fog closures on the river channel.

For more information on origins or ports not listed, please reach out to your Hillebrand representative.