Port of Vancouver Strike Enters Third Week

The delivery of local imported cargo at Port Metro Vancouver is being interrupted as the standoff between striking truckers and the Canadian government showed no signs of ending this week.

With the strike in its third week and truck traffic at Canada’s largest port has decreased dramatically, marine terminals are running out of storage space. The terminals are accepting intermodal rail cargo that is not truck dependent, but they will not offload imported containers destined for the Vancouver area.

Local carriers have informed customers with local Vancouver cargo on a vessel that arrived over the weekend that the containers would be dropped off at the Port of Tacoma in Washington. Customers have the option of storing it there until it can be picked up and delivered to Vancouver once the terminal is able to receive inbound loads. All storage costs and charges associated with this transactions are expected to be paid by the customer. They can also arrange for a truck move from Tacoma to Vancouver, at the customer’s cost. Vancouver importers also have have a third option, which is to ship their containers by intermodal rail to Calgary, Alberta, and make arrangements to truck the cargo to its destination.

Port Metro Vancouver, the federal government of Canada and the provincial government of British Columbia on March 13 unveiled a 14-point action plan to Unifor, which represents about 400 unionized truck drivers, and the United Truckers Association, which represents more than 1,000 owner-operators.

The drivers’ groups recently pondered the 14-point program that addresses pay, fuel surcharges and delays at marine terminals, and then met yesterday with port and government representatives. Spokesmen for both driver groups said they wanted to discuss the proposals further, but the government said there would be no negotiations until the drivers returned to work. Stay tuned.