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BCTA raises concerns about B.C. Ferries service

LANGLEY, B.C. -- The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) has expressed a number of concerns about B.C. Ferries service...

LANGLEY, B.C. — The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) has expressed a number of concerns about B.C. Ferries service.

The primary concern of the trucking association is the way B.C. Ferries deals with breakdowns or refits. In most cases, the ferry service resolves the problem by simply redeploying the Duke Point-Tsawwassen ferries to other routes replacing that equipment with slower ferries that have less overheight capacity.

BCTA president, Paul Landry, says this disrupts carriers’ schedules with each truck losing as much as half a day of productivity. Drivers also run the risk of running out of legal driving hours in the U.S. due to their new HOS rules that don’t recognize ferry delays.

In its defense, B.C. Ferries said the Feb. 14 to March 17 redeployment of the Alberni was the result of delays in training the Langdale crew for upgraded life saving appliances used on-board other ferries that could’ve been deployed to the Langdale route instead of the Alberni. The company also explained that not all ferries are interchangeable with all routes since they are not all compatible with the same docking equipment.

Another issue concerning carriers is the preferential treatment seemingly being given to cars and other light vehicles at Tsawwassen during the summer months. Truckers say cars arriving at the terminal after trucks are sometimes loaded onto the lower deck where the overheight space is. This leaves trucks waiting at the terminal for the next ferry.

B.C. Ferries said this may happen because of the ramp configurations used, but officials said they will look into the matter. They also agreed to: schedule quarterly meetings with the BCTA to discuss and review upcoming schedule changes; provide advanced notice of re-fits; and investigate carrier allegations of preferential treatment for cars at Tsawwassen during the summer.

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