Unifor asking feds to commit to negotiations on trucker forced-work legislation

by Canadian Shipper

VICTORIA, B.C.– Unifor National President Jerry Dias will make an announcement Wednesday in Victoria regarding the ongoing dispute at the Port Metro Vancouver.

“Until the federal government commits itself to these negotiations, a sustainable resolution is nowhere in sight,” said Dias. “We’re prepared to work around the clock to get a deal. To make that happen, Minister Raitt must take responsibility for her role in ending the dispute at the port,” Dias said.

volume of container truck transactions on “was nearly 32% of normal”.

“In general, 70% of containers arrive and depart Port Metro Vancouver container terminals by rail, and 30% by truck. Overall, the port is operating at approximately 75% of usual volumes,” said the port in a statement.

Port Metro Vancouver said it was accelerating Reforms to the Port’s Truck Licensing System.

“Changes come after months of consultation and are expected to create a more stable trucking industry,” it said.

On March 13, the Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia and Port Metro Vancouver collectively agreed to a 14-point Joint Action Plan.

According to a bulletin issued March 26 by the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), truck drivers are slowly returning to work at the port “but activity at the gates on Monday and Tuesday was less than on the weekend. The back-to-work legislation expected to pass the British Columbia late today or tomorrow may not bring a definite resolution – and so Vancouver destined cargo continues to be diverted.”

CIFFA noted the issues resulting from the truckers strike “are expensive in both dollars and time. Many CIFFA Members have shared their frustrations and the association is raising concerns with the terminals, carriers, port and regulators,” said the statement.

For cargo that must divert to US ports, the CBP has advised that pre-arrival filing will be required, in most cases ISF 5 for in-transit cargo.

“We have asked the CBSA for guidance for forwarders and importers who do not normally file,” said CIFFA.

The association also noted that “obscene amounts of storage are being charged by the terminals at Port Metro Vancouver. We hope that reason prevails and have requested that the terminals change their policy on storage,” CIFFA said in its bulletin.

On March 25, Federal Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt made a statement about the strike that has suspended Canada’s largest port.

“I am encouraged by the resumption of significant truck activity at Port Metro Vancouver terminals in recent days,” the statement began. “This demonstrates that the actions taken by our government and the port have made a difference towards resolving this dispute. I stand by our commitment to implement the 14-point action plan. I have asked Mr. Vince Ready to ensure that all parties commit to further discussion for long-term solutions when the truckers return to work.”

Yesterday, the B.C. government tabled a bill that if passed would force unionized truck drivers serving Port Metro Vancouver to return to work.

“The efficient movement of marine containers through Port Metro Vancouver is critical to Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and the national economy. It is crucial to see the port returned to full operation very soon.”

The legislation does not affect non-unionized container truckers.