Retail Council calls for end to Port Vancouver dispute

by MM&D Online staff

VANCOUVER, BC—With strike action by container truckers scheduled to begin tomorrow at Port Metro Vancouver’s container terminals, Retail Council of Canada (RCC) called upon all parties involved to take the necessary steps to avert the disruption of goods coming into Canada’s largest gateway.

Drivers belonging to the United Truckers Association (UTA)  began work stoppages last week in protest against delays at Port Metro Vancouver. On Thursday, March 6 members of the Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA)–part of Unifor–will be in a strike position as well.

This disruption of container traffic comes when there is already a significant backlog of containers as a result of poor weather conditions disrupting rail traffic in Central and Eastern Canada.

“The operation of the Port of Vancouver is of vital importance to the retail industry across Canada. Retailers view the current labour dispute with growing concern,” said Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of RCC.

With Port Metro Vancouver handling over $170 billion in goods annually, even a few days’ disruption can have a major economic impact on the retail industry.

“Our greatest concern is that Canadian consumers will not be able to obtain the goods they require. While it may be possible to re-route some containers through US west coast ports, one inevitable consequence of doing so will be higher prices for consumers and lower economic activity in Canada,” Brisebois added.

The retailers’ group called on all parties involved to be mindful of the impact on Canadian consumers and of the potential consequences for retail employment if goods are not getting through.