Container truckers sign deal in Ontario

by MM&D Online Staff

BRAMPTON, Ontario—The Container Trucking Association of Ontario (CTAO) has finalized an agreement with transport industry CEOs.

The settlement, after nine days of tense and difficult negotiations, during which the truckers blockaded intermodal yards, includes what the truckers call a fair percentage increase in rates for the first time in over a decade.

Thousands of containers and commodities sat idle with an economic impact in the millions while CTAO members protested against low rates, increases in inflation, high operating costs, extensive wait-times at rail yards, and unsafe and unhealthy long working hours.

CN reported in a letter to customers on September 15th, “The CTAO labor disruption is now heading into its second week. As a direct result of the CTAO labour disruption, the inventory of Toronto-destined import containers at CN’s Brampton Intermodal Terminal has significantly increased as the volume of trucks arriving to pick up those containers has decreased by 60 percent.”

CIFFA also weighed in with a letter to federal and provincial transport ministers requesting a mediator be appointed. The association said: “This action is not only impacting container terminals in the GTA regions but ocean carriers, rail carriers, trucking companies and so many more stakeholders including consumers all across the country. The GTA is but one link in the entire supply chain and goods move into and through this area to reach other parts of the country. Any delays in shipping and receiving goods means loss of business, and a resulting negative impact on Canada’s image as a reliable trading partner, not to mention the rising costs for companies and firms ready, willing and available to provide their services.

“Many of the local carriers and drivers that are willing to work are being prevented to do so for fear or reprisals. We have received numerous documented examples of acts of vandalism to trucks and equipment as well as acts of intimidation. These acts have escalated in the past week of actions and are costing local companies thousands of dollars in damages.”

Although CTAO says the deal does not address all its concerns, it does improve the situation by increasing rates, which have not been raised in 10 years.

“Both parties came together in good faith and we thank the CEOs who have signed today, we applaud your leadership, courage and cooperation. This was the result of a  collective desire to get the drivers back on the road. After 10 years we have set the bar for container truckers and the standard that the industry respects,” said Patrick Rhodin, CTAO president.

The CTAO represents 800 and growing independent owner operators and drivers who transport intermodal containers from the rail yards of CN and CP.