Abstract This paper develops a fast tabu search algorithm to minimize makespan in a flow shop problem with blocking. Some properties of the problem associated with the blocks of jobs have been presented and discussed. These properties allow us to propose a specific neighbourhood of algorithms. Also, the multimoves are used that consist in performing several moves simultaneously in a single iteration and guide the search process to more promising areas of the solutions space, where good solutions can be found. It allow us to accelerate the convergence of the algorithm. Besides, a dynamic tabu list is proposed that assists additionally to avoid being trapped at a local optimum. The proposed algorithms are empirically evaluated and found to be relatively more effective in finding better solutions than attained by the leading approaches in a much shorter time. The presented ideas can be applied in many local search procedures.