Port’s back in business, but where are the trucks?

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Vancouver Port Authority (VPA) says that despite extended hours, there are few trucks showing up to remove the backlogged containers.

Reports suggest there were 1,000 reservations made at Deltaport last Saturday, but only 400 transactions were completed. Monday and Tuesday saw an even lower percentage of appointments fulfilled, which has the port wondering where all the trucks have gone. It has even discontinued its extended hours since so few trucks are taking advantage of them, the VPA said in a release.

“The low number of completed reservations means that trucking companies are booking the appointments during extended hours, but their drivers are not showing up,” said Jim Cox, VPA vice-president, Infrastructure Development.

Before the port agrees to open on Saturday, Cox says it needs to be assured trucks will arrive.

“We need support and co-operation from all stakeholders so that we can move local imports off our terminals and resume normal operations. That means a commitment from truckers to work some additional hours until the backlog is cleared. Without this co-operation, we will continue to see excessive volumes backed up at our terminals and people and businesses will continue to suffer," Cox said. "The VPA and its terminal operators are willing to do whatever is reasonably required in order to alleviate the current problem, but that won’t be possible without the active participation of all stakeholders, particularly the truck

Estimates suggest about 9,000 containers are backlogged at Lower Mainland terminals. A further 2,000 containers are being held at U.S. ports until there’s room to ship them to Vancouver. If trucks don’t begin taking advantage of the extended hours, the VPA says it will take more than a month to clear up the backlog.

Many carriers have expressed frustration with the VPA after it required all companies serving the port to sign a two-year Memorandum of Agreement with the Vancouver Container Truckers Association (VCTA). That includes carriers that had nothing to do with the VCTA or the strike in the first place.

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