Port of Vancouver strikes back after protests

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 3/7/2014

The Port of Vancouver has yanked port permits for about 40 companies identified as participating in threats, coercing and disrupting access at the port during recent protests.  Protestors were blamed for cutting truck brake lines and throwing a rock into the driver’s window of a moving truck.

Last week, drivers with the United Truckers Association were on strike to bring attention to long wait times at the port. According to media reports, they were joined by the Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association, and have nearly ground port operations to a halt.

“Truck operations at Port Metro Vancouver container terminals are running at roughly 15 percent of normal operations,” the port told Land Line in a written statement Wednesday.

On Monday, the port issued a statement that outlined steps taken to address actions by protestors to disrupt shipping activity. The port also obtained a court injunction after capturing video of protestors allegedly cutting a truck’s brake lines.

“Today we have reports of highly disturbing behavior by some protesting truckers, including threats, intimidation and bodily harm towards those with legitimate right to carry on the business of Lower Mainland ports,” the port statement reads. “It is imperative that we ensure the safety and security of our ports and the free flow of goods to the benefit of all Canadians. Therefore, while we remain intent on finding solutions to the truckers’ concerns, we must take immediate steps to address safety and access to port facilities.”

The port has suspended 40 trucking companies from holding port access permits granted under the Port of Vancouver’s Truck Licensing System. The 40 parties were observed, the port said, contributing to the port shutdown by “threatening, intimidating, or coercing and/or disrupting, impeding or preventing access to port facilities.”

To make up for lost capacity from the suspended companies and trucks, the port has lifted its moratorium on Full Service Operator Licenses. The moratorium was put into place only two weeks ago.

Each week, about $885 million in cargo moves through the port area, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

According to the statement, the port will continue working with the government, police and other truckers “intent on returning the port to regular operations as soon as possible.”

To see a proposed eight-point plan to resolve the strike, click here.

Copyright © OOIDA