Two vessels have been called into the Port of Halifax to help clear out a backlog of diverted cargo containers.
This latest disruption to the supply chain is part of the aftereffects felt by the longshore workers striking in Montreal over a 12-day period.
The Port of Montreal was practically ground to a halt, forcing other ports, like Halifax, to chip in and assist with cargo that could no longer access the port on the St. Lawrence River.
“We’re starting to see now, these diverted containers being moved back to Montreal, where they can be put back into the system, get to their destination,” said Lane Farguson, the communications manager for the Port of Halifax.
Farguson says over the weekend one was vessel was able to move about 40 per cent of the diverted cargo out of Halifax. He says another vessel is on track to remove the remainder of the diverted cargo this week.
The backlog is having an impact on all aspects of the supply chain, including trucking.
“We’re working through the backlog, and some of the additional containers and shipments that have come in through Halifax, now,” said Bill Organ, the director of freight forwarding with the Warehouse Transport Group. “It will still be a few more weeks before the trucking side is able to move everything off, to get to everybody’s facility.”
Organ says the longer containers sit idle, the higher the costs rise to make up for delays.
It’s all part of the complexities that arise when there are disruptions anywhere along the supply chain.
“In the logistics business, obviously time is money. Nobody likes to pay additional costs and it’s unique in that it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault,” Organ said.
Organ adds that the supply chain is fluid and constantly adapting to global demands that have proven to be unpredictable from one year to the next.
“The timelines for moving personal protective equipment (PPE) trump some of the other stuff that we’re able to move. Say, a year ago, nobody was moving thousands of containers of PPE products,” he said.
Farguson says the Port of Halifax is working with global supply chain partners to ensure cargo containers are back to moving reliably and efficiently.
“For us in Halifax, efficiency and reliability are very, very important,” he said.