VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition (WCSC) says container truckers striking for better compensation and working conditions may wind up hurting themselves.
In a statement the WCSC warned that its members may move their business away from Port Metro Vancouver, and find different ways to transport their goods.
“At the time of this release, every one of our companies was looking into either changing from containers to breakbulk, using a different port or both. This [strike] will force them to actually make those decisions,” said WCSC chair Ian May.
According to May, forest products account for 80% of all container moves, and he says “that means up to 25% of the current market will go elsewhere and it won’t be back any time soon.
“In order to secure space on vessels, or at a different port, it is necessary to make long-term volume commitments that lock in the traffic for up to 12 months or more. Each breakbulk vessel can carry the equivalent of 1,000 containers and because it arrives directly by rail, there will be a significant reduction in the need for trucks and drivers. Port Metro Vancouver will take a hit as well. Some members have already signed deals to move cargo through Seattle and Montreal container terminals.”
He added, “I can give you a direct quote from one of our larger members: ‘We require two basic things of our transportation providers; affordability and reliability. The UTA demands have just eliminated both from this market so we are now forced to take our business elsewhere.’”