Approximately 200 trucks had accessed the lower mainland’s container terminals as of July 13 and the Port of Vancouver is urging others to follow their lead as it reaffirms its commitment to enhance efficiency.
As efforts to identify a negotiated agreement continue, the port says it is doing what it can to address truckers’ concerns, but in the meantime they should get back to work. “This is a complex dispute and it is going to take time to resolve it properly,” said Chris Badger, Vice President, Customer Development and Operations at the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA). “We support the establishment of a federal inquiry and are prepared to participate fully in such an endeavour. In the meantime, this dispute is hurting the provincial and national economy and, more specifically, it’s hurting people who depend on the port for their livelihood.”
Badger noted that the VPA is doing its part and encourages others to do the same. There are a number of operational issues facing the gateway and the port supports a variety of initiatives to enhance productivity and support the ability of truckers to earn a good wage.
Initiatives the port is committed to include;
- Expanded monitoring of waiting times for trucks accessing the port’s terminals, plus the establishment of benchmark dwell times in an effort to further improve turn-around times for trucks.
- Continuing to pursue enhanced productivity at the port’s terminals. Currently, the Port of Vancouver’s container terminals are among themost efficient in North America, with trucks being processed every 40 seconds and having average turn-around times of less than 30 minutes.
- Expedite work underway to expand truck gate hours to 24/7 operation. Trucking remains the only sector of the business that is not operating on a 24-hour basis. Expanded gate hours will allow trucks to access the port when there is less congestion on the region’s roads, leading to faster turn-around and travel times, fuel savings, reduced emissions, and higher revenue for truckers.
- Restate the port’s commitment to involve truckers in strategic planning that affects them. In 2001, in consultation with the trucking industry, the port established the Trucking Industry Intermodal Roundtable. This process was not successful as, at the time, there was no clear representation from truck drivers. The port remains committed to involving truck drivers and encourages the formal establishment of one association to which all container truck drivers belong.
“Truckers have succeeded in getting the attention of both industry and government. As a result, there is a clear acknowledgement that we need to work together to solve these issues, but every day trucks stay away from the port reduces the goodwill required to find a lasting solution to these issues. It’s in everyone’s best interest that the trucks start moving again,” said Badger.
The container sector is responsible for about $2.8 billion in total annual economic activity British Columbia and Canada. The loss in total economic output is estimated at approximately $30 million every week, with $30 million worth of goods sitting idle every day the dispute continues.