Disgruntled truckers put pressure on Lower Mainland ports
Truckers upset about wait times for loading and unloading as well as other concerns related to Port Metro Vancouver say they're ready to stop working, warning the action could stifle port operations. (FILE PHOTO)
Independent truckers issued a 48-hour stop work notice to Lower Mainland port authorities Monday over disputes regarding money and service levels.
In a press release issued by the United Truckers Association, the group indicated it had served notice to Port Metro Vancouver and claimed a stoppage could cost the provincial economy a loss of $100 million per day.
The UTA has been looking for a settlement since October and claims the ports have continually pushed back the date they promised to work out a deal with drivers.
“This industry has been paralyzed and has been suffering from a lot of issues which have been directly affecting the truckers at Port Metro Vancouver,” the release said. “Long lineups, lengthy wait times, incompetent rates, unfair port policies and undercutting of rates are among the top issues truckers are facing every day.”
Among the demands the association wants is paid idle time for when trucks are waiting to load or unload for its 1,200 members. It insists while drivers are waiting they lose money in burning fuel and not hauling freight.
“You can’t make a living off of it anymore,” said UTA spokesman Manny Dosange. “Something’s got to give. You either look after your families or you put diesel in your truck.”
Association members are asking for an hourly rate to be applied in 15-minute increments once they enter port property.
Drivers are also recommending a “dual appointment” system so when a truck enters the port with a container to drop off it can pick up another container to leave with.
Dosange said a meeting with port officials Monday afternoon didn’t go well. He added while truckers won’t be blockading any ports they simply won’t show up to work Wednesday at docks and ports across Metro Vancouver.
Last October, drivers protested the conditions. They agreed to go back to work with the promise of a deal being worked out toward after Christmas.
Port Metro Vancouver was reached for comment, but didn’t respond by press time.