Ocean Freight Threatened By The Potential For Strikes

June 19, 2024

Ocean Freight Threatened By The Potential For Strikes

 

The increasing threat of labour strikes in North America and Europe is being seen as a potential hurdle for ocean freight services during the next few weeks.

We have already covered the threat of an upcoming rail strike in Canada in a recent article, and a rail strike would impact the huge amount of traffic that moves to and from Canada and the Northern US by ocean freight.

As things currently stand that threat looks even more likely now. The Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) have now taken final submissions from major unions that represent over 9,000 workers, and are due to make a final decision soon on whether a strike will be allowed to go ahead. 

Trouble is also brewing on the US East Coast, where the International Longshoremen Association (ILA), which represents 85,000 port workers, is currently facing-off with port employers over a new labour contract and has suspended negotiations.

Talks have currently broken down due to a dispute over automation, but the union is campaigning for substantial wage increases for its members. A walkout could paralyse operations for 36 ports on the East and Gulf Coasts, between Maine and Texas.

In Germany, port worker unions have threatened a series of port strikes at the country’s key ports, including Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Bremen and Emden, after talks with the Central Association of German Seaport Operators ended without success.

A warning strike disrupted activities in German ports on Monday as negotiations continue over port workers hourly rates this week.

Meanwhile, French unions have already engaged in several one-day strikes and four-hour work stoppages in protest over the government’s pension reforms. However, strikes planned for 21st and 25th June have now been postponed until September following President Macron’s surprise call for a snap election.

The team at Atlantic Pacific are monitoring developments closely.

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