A cut in the number of container trucks licensed to serve Port Metro Vancouver is expected to help stabilize the drayage business.

Port truckers get enforced pay, smaller fleet

Reforms unveiled to ease strife in Metro Vancouver container trucking business

The number of container truckers licensed to serve Port Metro Vancouver will be slashed and those who survive are being promised higher enforced pay as part of reforms to cement labour stability and avoid any new strike disrupting trade.

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Wednesday the province will legislate rates for container truckers, retroactively, and indicated the current number of 2,000 licensed trucks could drop to about 1,500.

Too many trucks now chase too few loads, according to Port Metro Vancouver planning vice-president Peter Xotta, causing “intense competition” between firms, insufficient work for truckers and undercutting on agreed rates.

Reducing the number of licensed operators is expected to create a better balance.

A 28-day strike by container truckers last spring ended on government promises of a range of improvements, including minimum rates and compensation for long waits at terminals.

But unionized truckers had warned over the summer another strike was possible without enforcement of the rate floor to prevent undercutting by some trucking companies.

Truckers now licensed to haul containers in and out of container terminals will be invited by Port Metro Vancouver to apply for new licenses with mandatory performance bonds, damage deposits, driver sponsorship agreements and licence charges.

Port officials aren’t yet saying how they’ll decide who is in and who is out of the new licence system.

B.C. Trucking Association president and CEO Louise Yako said the new requirements aim to encourage responsible conduct and deter marginal operators who make the business more volatile.

“They want to set the financial barriers high enough that it reduces the likelihood that trucking companies are going to have a race to the bottom by reducing their rates and thereby reducing compensation to drivers,” Yako said.

Most BCTA members would much prefer unrestricted competition, she said.

But Yako said repeated strikes have spurred the senior governments to deviate from national policy and regulate for economic stability, not just safety and the environment.

“I think there is grudging acceptance that a free and competitive marketplace at this time is not feasible for the sector.”

The provincial and federal governments have also invested billions in port and transportation infrastructure in Metro Vancouver to assure reliable goods movement through the port, which handles 130 million tonnes of cargo a year.

How well the reforms work will ride heavily on the implementation of recommendations tabled by consultants Vince Ready and Corinn Bell, she said.

Not all trucking firms are expected to join the new system, which is to be up and running by Feb. 1.

Yako predicted pure drayage companies – that only haul from container terminals – will mostly seek new licences while many hybrid operators will voluntarily exit and shift their trucks to serve other business lines.

Trucking companies are being promised aid during the transition to the new system, which will include the creation of a new Container Trucking Commissioner to oversee future licensing.

Other reforms introduced this year have included night openings of terminals to cut congestion and installation of GPS units in all trucks to improve efficiency and record excessive waits.

Finding a viable fix for the industry has been complex, in part because of the variety of different union and non-union operations, some paid on varying hourly rates, while others are paid by trip.

Just Posted

Junior Team Canada brings home gold to the Lower Mainland, again

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Surrey-Langley curlers in the running again for gold

Junior men’s team out of Langley hopes to defend its world title Sunday, going up against Switzerland

VIDEO: Giants earn 40th victory in a 4-0 triumph over Victoria

Vancouver G-Men move within a point of clinching the B.C. division banner at Friday’s at-home game

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Man sentenced for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

Most Read