Modal Update Trucking and Marine

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Summarizing the month’s trends and events in trucking and marine

Trucking

August 5: Truck Arrivals Continue to Drop – Today’s Trucking

The number of truck drivers entering the country dropped 7%, to 102,985, during the week of July 27 to August 2, from 110,324 the same week last year, the Canada Border Services Agency said.

It is the fourth consecutive drop since the week of June 29 to July 5, when truck arrivals returned to normal for the first time since COVID-19 struck earlier this year.

August 7: Post COVID, Trucking Still Needs to Consider the Driver Shortage – Canadian Trucking Alliance

Before COVID-19 hit, the Canadian trucking and logistics sector was experiencing an acute driver shortage.

The day before the World Health Organization designated coronavirus a global pandemic, Trucking HR Canada released a report highlighting high driver job vacancies within the industry, low unemployment generally, and the need to reach young people and women in order to expand and diversify the driver pool.

The truck driver occupation is projected to experience a relatively fast recovery from COVID. Demand for drivers is expected to stabilize by the fourth quarter of 2021 and attain or possibly exceed pre-pandemic labour market projections by 2023.

However, anticipated retirements and other labour losses by 2023 indicate that this demand is unlikely to be fully met over the next three years. Recent research has confirmed that COVID-19 has simply stalled the driver shortage, not negated it.

August 24: Canadian Truckers’ Fears of U.S. amid Coronavirus Aggravate Risk of Driver Shortage – Global News

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many truckers close to retirement age opted to park their tractors due to health concerns.

As the coronavirus mushrooms across the U.S., their absence has thrown up an additional barrier to fleets scrambling to meet demand for essential goods while aggravating fears of a longer-term driver shortage.

Further, many trucking schools remain closed, so new recruits are unavailable.

August 25: Canadian ELD Timeline Remains Firm: CTA – trucknews.com

Don’t expect a reprieve from the Canadian electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, set to go into effect in June 2021.

That is the message from Geoff Wood, senior vice-president of policy for the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

“Transport Canada is committed to this,” Wood said, despite some calls from within industry for a delay in implementation. “It is full steam ahead.”

Marine

August 5: Vessels Redirect to Other Ports as Strike Chaos Continues at Montreal – The Loadstar

The stand-off between labour and employers at the Port of Montreal saw another strike disrupting container traffic during the week of August 3 to 7.

Frustrated by the situation, carriers began to redirect vessels to other ports.

Following the end of consecutive strikes by longshoremen and port checkers, which halted operations at the port’s terminals in the previous week, longshoremen began another 96-hour strike on Monday, August 3, which ended on Friday, August 7.

Port checkers announced parallel action from Wednesday to Friday morning.

August 7: Risk to Global Supply Chain Grows as Overworked Seafarers Halt Ships – gCaptain

A new risk to global supply chains is emerging as exhausted seafarers stuck offshore for months halt work, a breaking point caused by restrictions on crew changes amid coronavirus precautions.

Three vessels are idled in Australia after crews who worked beyond their contracts demanded to be repatriated, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation. The organization’s national coordinator in Australia, Dean Summers, said he is discussing options for about four other ships, without elaborating.

The three vessels are “just the tip of the iceberg,” Summers said in the statement, adding that crews are within their rights to refuse to sail.

August 10: Union to Extend Montreal Port Strike Indefinitely as Dock Tensions Escalate – Global News

Montreal dock workers launched a port-wide strike without an end date starting on Monday, August 10, in an escalating standoff between the union and the Maritime Employers Association.

The strike built on a series of temporary strikes by the Canadian Union of Public Employees over the past month that diverted several ships to ports in Halifax, New York City and Saint John, N.B.

August 14: Thailand Allows Crew Changes on ‘Humanitarian Principles’ – Safety at Sea

Thailand has begun to allow crew changes for local and foreign nationals. The decision is based on crew welfare requirements outlined in the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006).

Crew must carry an insurance policy that covers the cost of healthcare and medical treatment in case of detection of COVID-19 during their stay in Thailand. The insurance coverage should not be less than US$100,000.

Crew must also undergo a COVID-19 infectious disease test and, if the tests are negative and they have a scheduled departure from Thailand, they need to leave immediately to the destination.

If the crew members have no specific schedule to leave Thailand, they must stay quarantined.

August 23: Longshoremen Return to Work at the Port of Montreal as Negotiations Continue – CTV News

Longshore workers at the Port of Montreal headed back to work on Sunday, August 23, after a truce declared in a labour dispute allowed activities to resume after a 12-day strike.

The two sides announced on August 21 that they’d reached a deal putting the labour action on hold.

The deal lays out a seven-month period where talks will continue without a threat of work stoppage.

Both sides said they’re confident a deal can be ironed out before March 20, 2021, at which point the agreement would end.

An agreement in principle was reached on August 21 with the checkers’ union.