North Vancouver terminal benefits from port strike
Packaged lumber for export seen at the North Vancouver Lynnterm Terminal. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MILES HOLLINGBURY/WESTERN STEVEDORING)
"We don’t handle containers at all. The pulp is loaded at the mill, where it’s produced into trucks or into rail cars, and when it is trucked or railed to our terminals we take it out … until a ship comes in and it’s exported." — Miles Hollingbury, Western Stevedoring
A month of job action at Port Metro Vancouver facilities was a boon to at least one Lower Mainland terminal operator that primarily ships cargo from trains and trucks without containers.
During the strike and protests that spanned much of March, many groups, including the Vancouver Board of Trade, the federal and provincial governments and the port authority had called for the truckers to get back to work.
The groups were worried about the economic impact of the job action as more than 1,000 truckers stopped working.
Truckers returned to work after a deal was signed last week.
Miles Hollingbury, director of marketing and business development at Western Stevedoring, said on Monday his company’s workers have been toiling overtime to keep up with work diverted from the strike.
Western Stevedoring primarily exports pulp products and operates out of Lynnterm Terminal on the North Shore.
“It probably increased our shipments because the (striking) truckers were mostly involved with container operations,” Hollingbury said, describing the workload as a “significant short-term increase.”
“The pulp mills had to find a way to export cargo so they asked our terminal to bring in cargo normally done on containers.”
He anticipated the increased work would continue for at least another “couple of months” due to contractual obligations established during the strike period.
Unlike a large number of container trucks arriving at the Vancouver terminal, Hollingbury said, much of the cargo arriving at his company is brought in by rail or panel trucks.
The economic value of trucking cargo alone is believed to be about $885 million weekly, according to the B.C. government.