Container truck drivers and their supporters

Truckers protest as hundreds shut out of port work

'Winners and losers' become clear as Port Metro Vancouver finalizes plan to tighten container port access

More than 600 container truckers say they’re effectively out of a job because they’ve been barred from loading at Port Metro Vancouver terminals under a new licensing system.

The reforms, devised by the port and the provincial and federal governments, aimed to control the hyper-competitive industry by reducing the number of port access licences.

It’s intended to end rampant undercutting on rates that has been the trigger for labour unrest in the past, including a month-long strike last year.

But there have been casualties and exactly who they are became clear last week.

The survivors announced by Port Metro Vancouver are 68 companies with 1,450 trucks, while several hundred additional trucks with 84 other firms that previously hauled containers in and out of the port are cut out of the new system.

Drivers and other affected workers rallied with their families Saturday in Holland Park in Surrey to protest the changes, which took effect. Feb. 1.

Drivers, in theory, could do “off-dock” work – hauling containers between warehouses that don’t require port access – or switch to different hauling services, but some of those protesting said they doubt there’s enough work to support the trucks now denied port access.

Port officials defended the changes.

Peter Xotta, vice-president of planning and operations, said the industry has been unstable for too long, with drivers having difficulty making a living, adding there’s widespread agreement there were too many licensed trucks and drivers.

“It is unfortunate, and unavoidable, that some will no longer be licensed to access the port, but they are still able to provide driving services that do not require port access,” he said.

There had also been accusations in recent weeks that the minimum rates passed by the province were not in line with the agreement that ended last March’s strike.

The province announced further adjustments to address those concerns last week.

It has also pledged that a container trucking commissioner will review some issues related to trucker pay.

SFU urban studies professor Peter Hall said the process of regulating truckers and reducing the number of licences was always going to “create winners and losers” with real pain for those excluded.

“There is a trade-off,” he said. “We can have a small number of good jobs in cargo movement, or a larger number of bad ones. We can’t have both, and perhaps the real culprits here are those that keep over-claiming what port expansion means for the region.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s going to be a circus on Family Day in Pitt Meadows

Free event takes place in family recreation centre

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

Intergenerational Garden in Maple Ridge set to close if funding not found

The teaching garden brought together seniors and children

Winter Family Fun Fair a joy for all

Maple Ridge Public library hosted literacy event featured 27 exhibitors

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants head coach records 200th win with 3-2 victory in Kelowna

Michal Kvasnica and David Tendeck named stars of the game

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Most Read