Abandoning thousands of containers causes congestion at the Port of Montreal

Abandoning thousands of containers causes congestion at the Port of Montreal

The Port of Montreal has experienced major congestion problems caused by thousands of containers being abandoned by their customers for lack of interest or enough space to take possession of them The newspaper.

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“If the situation were simple, we would have solved it already,” replies Daniel Dagenais, Vice President, Port Performance and Sustainable Development, Ports of Montreal (MPA). But as it is not (easy) we are monitoring the situation very closely and I assure you that we are working tirelessly to prevent it from getting worse.

The port of Montreal is considered the most important in the east of the country. 26 km long on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, it accommodates around 2,000 ships, 1.7 million containers and 35 million tons of goods per year.

The end of just-in-time?

Until now, the port had been relatively unscathed from the logistical chaos that plagued most of the major ports on the planet. However, things have gotten more complicated for him in recent weeks, and to avoid further delays, companies have changed how they operate.

Just-in-time, which for decades dominated supply chains across the planet, has finally given way to just-in-case, summarizes Mathieu Charbonneau, CEO of Gargo M, the secretariat of Montreal’s logistics cluster.

Apparently, what had to happen happened: while importers continued to receive their old orders late, they also started receiving the ones they ordered much earlier than usual, leading to a bottleneck that no one seemed to have planned.

three times longer

Result: Instead of picking up the goods as planned within two days of arrival at the port, companies have tended to postpone their obligations since this spring.

Delays of “5 to 10 days” per container are no longer uncommon, admits Mr. Dagenais.

And while he’s working on it, it doesn’t get much better. Last month, the average dwell time of containers was 12.9 days, triple the time recorded on the same date last year…

This lack of movement among the “tens of thousands of containers” waiting to be supplied by their customers results in a 30% higher than usual container presence, estimates Mr. Dagenais. This is enough to cause the current congestion and threatens the port with an embargo if the situation doesn’t improve soon.

lack of land

Prior to arrival, the APM and Cargo M can only encourage the customers concerned to fulfill their responsibilities by collecting their goods. However, because they don’t have enough storage space, many still prefer to pay the penalties imposed on them ($350 to $600 per day), Mr. Charbonneau regrets.

The latter invites companies to consult the draft warehouse inventory prepared for them by Cargo M. There are currently 16 million outdoor ft2 and 2 million indoor ft2 listed that could help ease port congestion.

“Any area or land that could serve as an overflow area would be welcome,” he says, keeping his fingers crossed that a solution is found quickly.

A problem that rapidly worse

Average container stop at the port of Montreal:

  • 4.9 days in 2021
  • 8.3 days in 2022 (from January to July)
  • 12.9 days for the month of July 2022

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