Truckers' Strike Scheduled for Today @ Noon @ Port Metro Vancouver

 In cargo, export, import, International Shipping, truckers strike, Vancouver Port Metro

UPDATE FROM GLOBAL NEWS: “Unifor says agreement has been reached. It will be taking the agreement to members no later than Saturday. Protests will remain in place until then. Non-union truckers also say they support the agreement.”

Yes, there already has been a truckers’ strike happening at Port Metro Vancouver. But today at noon is when it is scheduled to go full scale.

The non-unionized truckers started striking last week on Wednesday. Then the unionized truckers voted unanimously to join the strike.

Noon today is when the strike is expected to go full scale.

Leading up to today, Port Metro Vancouver has managed to keep all its terminals operating despite reports of violence, intimidation, and sabotage of trucks and truckers entering and exiting the port.

Gavin McGarrigle, the B.C. area director of Unifor, said the issues the strike is over “are pay rates and undercutting by some companies, as well as costs being downloaded onto container truckers and long wait times.”[1]

Already struggling with long wait times, Port Metro Vancouver has been feeling the pressure of this strike. But they have made moves in an attempt to avoid it.

Besides the federal injunction against truckers disrupting operations at the port, Port Metro Vancouver has agreed “in principle” to an eight-point plan to resolve work stoppage that was created by the BC Trucking Association and the shipping industry.[2]

Without getting into detail, the eight-points of the plan are:

  1. Terminals to develop recovery plans to ensure a quick return to fluidity after the resolution of the current trucking disruption.
  2. Extend gate hours at terminals Monday through Friday.
  3. Adopt industry-wide funding to support extending terminal truck gate hours.
  4. Commitment to conduct full rate audits of all trucking companies licensed through the Port Metro Vancouver Truck Licensing System.
  5. Waiving of Terminal Gate Compliance Fee.
  6. Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee to be paid to trucking companies impacted by terminal truck processing delays.
  7. Terminate the Independent Operator Permits of any owner-operators involved in harassment, intimidation, property damage or other disruptive behavior affecting the flow of traffic to and from the port. Terminate the licenses of full service operators deemed to be in noncompliance of the 2005 Memorandum of Agreement.
  8. Lift the Independent Operator Permit moratorium to offset the loss of owner/operators whose permits have been revoked due to disruptive behavior during work stoppage.[3]

Port Metro Vancouver also has ongoing improvement and construction plans for their infrastructure to bring down wait times at the port to help them reach reduced wait time goals talked about in our last blog.

international shipping truck Vancouver Truckers' StrikeBut it does not seem that any of these things are going to stop this truckers’ strike from happening today at noon.

So far, carriers have not announced ships being diverted from Port Metro Vancouver, mainly do to the fact mentioned above that the port has managed to keep all terminals operating through the labor dispute so far.

Maersk, for example, communicated to their customers last week after the non-union truckers began their strike that “All terminal gates remain open and the terminal is fully operational and secure. The current vessel schedule remains unchanged… The rail cargo also continues to move off the terminal.”

But now that the unionized truckers are about to join the strike, that scenario could change and many are speculating cargo ships and shipments will be diverted to other ports. The Port of Seattle is top on the list of ports likely to gain from the troubles of Port Metro Vancouver.

International shipping experts and the port say this strike has already cost the port in shippers diverting their shipments to other ports like the Port of Seattle.

To get a feel for how costly this truckers’ strike could be for Port Metro Vancouver, here are some numbers reported by The Vancouver Sun:

Port Metro Vancouver said Tuesday that local trucking moves about 1.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers per year and that based on the 2011 economic impact study figures, the value of those goods would be approximately $46 billion per year, or $885 million worth of cargo moved by truck weekly.[4]

We’ll keep an eye on this situation and keep you updated.

The UCM Ops Team works hard on the routing of your imports and exports so your shipments go as smoothly as possible even when things like strikes hit at ports.

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