UPDATE: 7/19/2023— ILWU Canada announced yesterday that it rejected the tentative proposal and as of 4:30 PM PST, they would re-engage in strike activity. “The ILWU Canada Longshore Caucus does not believe the recommendations had the ability to protect our jobs now or into the future.” Mohawk will continue to monitor the situation and correspondence with those clients directly impacted by this.
UPDATE: 7/13/2023— A tentative agreement has been announced by the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), that the parties have reached a new 4-year deal. Subject to ratification, this is a massive step toward the completion of a contract that should ensure the fluidity of ILWU Canadian ports. Mohawk will continue to monitor the situation and correspondence with those clients directly impacted by this.
UPDATE: 7/3/2023— As of 8 AM PST on Saturday, July 1st, ILWU Canada and its 7,000 employees did initiate the announced strike, bringing all West Coast Canada ports to an operational halt. Most notably, operations at Vancouver and Prince Rupert have ceased. No vessels will be able to call these ports, and cargo currently inside the ports will likely be held until the strike has been completed.
Vessels currently inbound to either Vancouver or Prince Rupert are not being allowed to anchor, as plans for diversion or re-routing of their cargo are made. The most likely destination for cargo bound to move via the Canadian Ports is a diversion to US West Coast ports, though both the ILWU in the US and the ILA who provide employment to East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, have pledged solidarity with ILWU Canada which could complicate the process.
Repeated attempts at mitigation failed in the hours before the strike. It is possible that government intervention could help get the ports restarted. However, it does seem possible that the ports will remain shut down for an extended period of time, which will cause disruptions not just to Canadian cargo, but to most operations moving through the North American West Coast.
Mohawk will continue to monitor the situation and will be corresponding with those clients directly impacted by this.
ILWU Canada has announced a 72-hour strike notice, due to continued issues with their labor negotiations on a new contract. They intend to walk off the job starting Saturday, July 1.
This would shut down all ports in British Colombia, but most notably Vancouver and Prince Rupert, the main gateways to Canada and the US Midwest. Cargo traffic will cease moving through these ports if the strike takes place.
It remains to be seen if the Canadian Government will attempt to intercede, or if an agreement can be reached to avert the situation. ILWU Canada had approved the authorization to strike, back in early June, but had not exercised that option until now. Mohawk Global will continue to monitor these developments and provide updates as we receive them.
By Chris Lindstrand, Director of International Transportation