Landry’s Battle for B.C.

by James Menzies

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) is one of the few remaining provincial associations to still host a trade show. The fact this year’s Truxpo was a success despite dwindling promotional budgets for many industry suppliers is a testament to the organization.

Representing carriers located on the coast provides a whole new set of challenges as well, such as backups at the bustling Port of Vancouver. BCTA president Paul Landry has been as busy as ever lately, balancing the many concerns brought forth by the association’s members. He’s also had to do battle with the mainstream media, which has been taking some unfair jabs at the trucking industry. Truck News caught up with Landry at Truxpo 2004 and had a candid discussion about some of these issues.

TN: After years under the NDP in which B.C. was deemed a “have-not” province, the provincial Liberals seem to have turned the ship around to some extent. How is your relationship with the provincial government and what are your thoughts on their rule so far?

Landry: We’ve got a good relationship with the provincial Liberals, I think generally speaking our members are quite happy with the efforts the provincial government has made in terms of reduction of red tape, in terms of a reduction in income tax and that sort of thing. I think the provincial government has done a good job in terms of turning the economy around. We had an economy that lagged the rest of the country for 10 years, but we’re beginning to see some changes and we’re beginning to see significant growth.

I think the people in the province are feeling very confident about their future and I think there’s a real buzz in our industry over the next several years. I think they’ve done a good job and we’re pleased.

TN: There have been increased concerns about the delays trucking companies are facing at the Port of Vancouver. Is this a serious issue?

Landry: Delays at the port are a huge concern, particularly this fall. We are looking at substantial volumes of freight coming in, but due to labour problems, slowdowns and concerns with the scheduling systems employed by various terminals as we speak today there are trucking companies facing three and four hour waits to pick up or drop off a container.Hopefully those issues will be resolved but in the longer term when you look at the growth the port is anticipating, we need to work with the port and we need to work with shippers to define a better way to move freight in and out of the port because we’re looking at gridlock in the future unless some changes are made.

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