Halifax port growth calls for longshoremen


Published March 10, 2017 - 6:57pm 

This past year alone, the port has seen a 14.9 per cent increase in containerised cargo

The port of Halifax has seen a surge of growth in the past year. (Staff)

A year of surging growth for the port of Halifax means a growth in jobs as well.

The Halifax Employers Association is hosting a job fair later this month to hire 32 casual longshoremen, a move made necessary by that growth.

This uptick in cargo moving through Halifax didn’t come naturally. It took hard work on the part of every organization involved.

“We’ve made a concerted effort,” said Lane Farguson, of the Halifax Port Authority. “All of the different groups on the waterfront have been working together to drive business.”

This includes groups from rail service providers to labour groups, as well as the port authority itself. This past year alone, the port has seen a 14.9 per cent increase in containerised cargo moving throughout.

This growth affects all aspects of Halifax life.

“Just about everything that is available in most stores moves through the shipping supply chains at some point,” said Farguson.

Abut 90 per cent of goods we interact with are shipped through containerised cargo. This means they go, more often than not, through the port of Halifax.

Richard Moore, of the Halifax Employers Association, attributes the need for more longshoremen to this growth, as well as to an aging workforce.

“The port is getting a lot busier,” said Moore. “At the same time we’re seeing more turnover than usual.” The addition of these casual workers will help relieve shortages during busy periods. It will also allow the port of Halifax to deal with longshoremen who retire or who start working less.

The employers association wants to bring more casual labour into the port workforce as unionized longshoremen age out, according to Moore. The flexibility of casual labour allows the association to hand out more or fewer hours to workers, depending on the port’s need.

This is not the first time the port has hired reserves of casual workers. Last year 48 casual longshoremen were hired to fill in extra work hours. The intention is for this year’s catch to provide a second reserve group as the amount of cargo moving through continues to grow.

The fair will be held March 21 and 22 at the Cunard Centre in Halifax.