Shippers say container truckers’ demands will result in job losses

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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.’”

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  • The companies would not negotiate, they were willing to bet the drivers would take whatever they were given. If the companies want to ship out of Seattle, then someone will have to drive the containers to and from there.
    The port facilities can be cleaned up and the property sold for housing, the days of the companies spreading fear among the drivers and getting away with it are over.
    I hope the provincial government will be looking at the property, and if there is any tax differences between it running as a container facility and being shut down then have at them.
    If the facility is getting tax breaks, that is over, kick them out and see who else is looking for a property. Better get an auction set up quickly before, everything is confiscated.
    Fear works both ways.

  • Blah, blah, blah. Same story, different company, different day.
    I think the people who should really worry about losses are the shareholders of the WCSC member companies.
    The CEO’s of these companies have obviously known of the problem for some time, and have chosen to continue pushing for higher profits over worker conditions. That is what pays them the short term bonuses that they covet so much.
    CEO’s no longer look at the long term viability of their companies, as investment in the future pays lower bonuses today. When the house of cards falls in, sometime in the future, they leave for greener pastures, often with a golden handshake that was determined prior to their taking the position. The company falls into bankruptcy, and everyone else gets fleeced, including the shareholders.

    The truckers will always find jobs. They are the working class, and there is always a need for truckers. The CEO’s will find jobs, as like coaches, the bum of one team is the star of the next. The banks always get their money first, so it’s the shareholders who will lose. Justly so, because they only cared about how much money the company will make them anyway.

    How’s that for fear mongering!

  • I have never, ever, supported a union, ever. But, in this case these guys have my backing 100%. I heard on a radio interview that they were on strike because of long waiting times to load and unload, a factor that is plaguing the industry. I myself I have been on docks to load machinery and its not unusual to be there for the best part of the day just to pick up one back hoe.
    If drivers were paid by the hour instead of a percentage or by the mile, the waiting times would drop. Just look across the pond at Europe, a very slick operation there!

  • “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,

  • Andy Labdon
    Yes you are right but I always worked by the hour.
    long wait to load or unload love it I have a cooler full of food and a thermos full of coffee.
    Dont rush on my account take your time I like getting paid to listen to the radio and read my book.

  • I can’t believe that Western Canadian Shipper’s Coalition would let their CHAIR Ian May make any remarks. If you all would take a moment and re-read what it was he was saying you will see that he flunked intelligence 101. his group is thinking about using another port. Great!!!!
    The ports in the lower mainland all operate under the Port Metro Vancouver, so that means they will move to Seattle or Tacoma and then we will get the rates up by hauling from the south to the Canadian destinations, and of course we would also be happy to haul the containers back to Seattle/Tacoma for higher rates also.

    Next I believe he mention some members have already signed deals to move cargo thru Seattle and Montreal. Do they not understand it will cost more for transportation from the U.S. or Montreal, sorry lost my mind for a minute they will just threaten whoever gets the haul to lower their rates.

    Being truckers we don’t have the power to threaten our customers that we will go somewhere else to work because no matter what we will just get another crooked corporation with over paid CEO’s demanding we drop our rates or else.

    BUT what if the truckers get together and demand that we get them to turn their financial records over to us and we will show them how to get rid of a dozen Vice Presidents and take away some of the over paid millions to the CEO that has worked so hard to keep their customers happy and coming back. Well to all the CEO’s out there it was your underpaid employee’s that made your company success not you.

    And to quote your WCSC before you start bad mouthing your transportation providers who do you think gave you that reliable service all winter when the roads were bad. IT WAS A OWNER OPERATOR or A COMPANY DRIVER doing their best to meet your ridiculous schedules.

  • These co.(s) have been telling the fed gov. that we have a shortage of truck drivers. We will not need anymore new drivers for 2 years if they do this, and those drivers can solve the worker shortage in the mines and oilfields

  • THE DOCK WORKERS UNION NEEDS TO BE LOOKED INTO AS WELL, THESE WORKERS ARE MAKING BIG DOLLARS, AND DO NOT CARE ABOUT TRUCKS WAITING, A LOT OF PIER WORKERS HAVE LEFT THE INDUSTRY BECAUSE OF THE TREATMENT THEY HAVE TO PUT UP WITH WHILE WAITING AT A PIER FOR AN EMPTY OR A DROP. The container workers can shut down a pier, and get what ever they want hourly. A trucker pulls up and they say going on lunch for a couple of hours or break for 45 mins. See you later. If Canada wants to be efficient at all container piers they need group efforts Rail, Docks, and trucks. Cut out the crap, and get to work their are many people out there that would love to make that kind of money that the docks make. Truckers have been under paid and logged to many unpaid hours than any other industry,When you go to work even at Tim hortons you are on the clock. Most trucking companies demand you show up at 10 or so but the first hour is unpaid or even longer. Worse yet try mileage only pay and calculate your unpaid hours. Keep fighting for change or the industry will never attract new drivers.

  • The headline , shippers say will cost jobs….that’s just an excuse. When are truckers gonna get cost of living increase, it’s been how long? Every other line of work see increases, cost of inflation, keeps changing with the times, but trucking…we are suppose keep working for Peanuts!

  • The United Truckers Association is not a legitimate union body. This is a particular group of truckers who gained control of “container” hauling through “cutting the existing rates” twenty years ago! They created this economic challenge themselves, and do not relate to the “PROFESSIONAL” drivers of BC. The WCSC should contract to one of the legitimate trucking companies in Transfer who hauled these containers before the UTA group “cut the rates.”

  • The shippers would be better to sit down with all truckers in Canada as the poet has just set the rates that people are going to want in Canada. This strike would have not have happened and there would be no driver shortage if the shippers were and trucking co.s were paying a fair wage