According to multiple media sources, a new licensing program at the Port of Vancouver has reignited tensions between local drayage drivers, port officials and the provincial government. The program, which is set to take effect on February 1, is part of a larger agreement brokered to halt a port drayage strike in March 2014. On January, 23, Vancouver officials notified 68 trucking companies serving the port that 1,450 truck tags had received conditional approval, effectively licensing only 70% of the current driver pool.
In the aftermath, both union and non-union drivers have reportedly threatened to strike as soon as this week if provincial and federal officials fail to amend their current Joint Action Plan. On January 26, an anonymous email was circulated throughout the Vancouver drayage community, urging drivers to meet at Grand Taj Hall, Surrey on January 27. “TODAY IT's US,” the email stated. “TOMORROW THEY CAN DECIDE TO MAKE CHANGE AND IT COULD BE YOU. We Request Our fellow Companies to stand beside us. Please DO NOT MAKE reservations for Wednesday.”
"The Province recognizes that truckers have identified some areas where they would like to see our regulation changed,” spokesperson Kate Trotter commented earlier in January, on behalf of British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, “and we have agreed to look at the items they raised over the next couple of weeks.” In a statement released on January 26, Port Metro Vancouver added that it would work to assist drivers left out of the new licensing structure, in the form of a funding package, administrative help with scrapping or auctioning trucks, and assistance with tapping into other government-sponsored employment aid.
Meanwhile, British Columbia has announced plans to appoint an independent container trucking commissioner to oversee the implementation of the current, 14-point Joint Action Plan. Though this figure could potentially serve as a calming force in the current environment, he or she is not expected to assume the post until February.
SPARX logistics will continue to monitor this situation and keep our customers apprised of the latest developments. If you have questions or concerns related to specific shipments, please contact your SPARX representative.