Port of Saint John celebrates frontline workers with harbour-sized salute
SAINT JOHN -- On Saturday, New Brunswick's port city lived up to its nickname with a show of solidarity on the Saint John Harbour – making a noisy and joyful salute for the town's ever-essential port workers.
Organized by the International Longshoremen's Association, the spectacle saw cargo ships, trains, trucks and more blaring their horns to show their appreciation for frontline workers involved with the port amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was an all-out effort for everybody involved with the port; all the users of the port and all the people in the harbour – all to say 'thank you' to the front line workers," says International Longshoremen's Association vice president, Owen Boyle.
The idea began with Pat Riley of the International Longshoreman's Association and was brought to Port Saint John, who agreed to help get the word out.
Port Saint John president, Jim Quinn says DP World – the terminal's provider – provided all of the vehicles for operators to participate in the salute. He notes ports are more important than ever, because of the essential supplies and goods that move through the system – impossible without port workers.
"Everything from the pilots that go on the boat, the tug operators, the longshoremen, the terminal operators, the truck drivers, and the people who work rail," says Quinn. "All those folks are so vitally important in moving goods."
The event was a chance to recognize the hard and often unrecognized work that port workers perform.
"For people that don't work down here, to come out and see all the different aspects of the port, all of the pieces of the jigsaw – it was another way for them to see all the workings of the port," says Boyle.
Quinn, who is also the chair of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, adds ports in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Montreal and Halifax have recently become busier as business improves. Meanwhile, activity in Saint John has remained relatively steady.