Responding to persistent congestion issues for truckers at Montreal’s marine terminals since early this year, leading stakeholders at Canada’s second biggest port have agreed to participate in a study into the cost of extending gate hours at the Port of Montreal. The study’s recommendations are to be presented on April 23.
This will be followed by a pilot program that will be implemented by early summer or perhaps earlier, according to a statement released by CargoM, the logistics and transportation metropolitan cluster of Montreal headed by Mathieu Charbonneau. Also, signing the statement were top executives from Montreal Gateway Terminals, Termont Montreal, MSC and the Quebec Trucking Association. For more than a year, a working group on Innovation and Fluidity has been holding workshops and consulting more than 60 industry representatives.
The statement on April 4 cited a number of “challenges that are impeding the flow of our logistics chain.” The “most visible” challenges include “constant growth” in container freight volumes, traffic problems caused by infrastructure and repair work, and longer commuter rush hours reducing periods when port area truck traffic can flow smoothly.
Last year, Montreal’s container cargo rose by 6.2% to 1.54 million TEUs. A strong surge continued in the first months of 2018.
Also mentioned was: “Delays due to the implementation of new technologies and transitions to new forms of planning and operations for logistics chain partners.”
“This pivotal moment for Greater Montreal’s supply chain leads us to intensify collaboration between all stakeholders and, in turn, to implement concerted actions and a pilot project that creates win-win conditions and an environment conducive to competitiveness,” the statement earlier this week continued.
In the past few months, trucks have experienced waits of up to several hours – a trend also affecting other ports in North America. Some trucking companies serving the Port of Montreal have raised their rates $75 an hour for waiting times. Congestion has, however, been substantially lower for railway movements, which account for approximately 45% of surface shipments.
To improve cargo flows in and out, the Port of Montreal is currently investing in such “fluidity” projects as connecting roads. But recent developments point to a need for at least provisional further measures.