CWB moves to prevent late charges

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) has invoked contract clauses to ensure customers won’t receive late penalties due to the labor dispute involving Port of Vancouver grain handlers.

“As long as we’re not in demurrage, it’s as if time stops,” CWB spokesperson Louise Waldman tells local media. That will save shippers and the board itself about $10,000 per day in late charges for each vessel.

Meanwhile, grain handlers belonging to Local 333 of the Grain Workers Union will vote Thursday on the latest offer by management, but it’s expected the offer will be rejected. The employees are unhappy with recent layoffs, which are the result of drought conditions throughout the Prairies.

“A labor disruption couldn’t happen at a worse time for farmers already devastated by drought,” says Waldman. “This is just a further factor that aggravates that.”

The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s busiest grain handling port, with 60 per cent of the country’s grain exports moved through there. The Prince Rupert Port is not affected by the lockout, however it receives a smaller portion of Canada’s grain exports.

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