Canadian port to impose rules striking truckers approved

| 8/2/2005

Striking truckers at the Port of Vancouver have won at least a temporary victory – and maybe more than that.

The port’s officials announced Monday, Aug. 1, that they will impose a new 90-day licensing system in an attempt to get container traffic moving again. The port truckers have been on strike since late June.

If a trucking company wants to have its container cargo picked up, it will have to sign a licensing agreement that provides substantially higher rates to truckers, as well as a fuel surcharge that kicks in if prices reach a certain level.

The rates are identical to those recommended by a mediator who’s been trying to settle the strike. Truckers overwhelmingly supported the mediator’s proposal. However, trucking companies rejected it.

Duncan Wilson, a spokesman for the port, told “Land Line Now” that the reaction from trucking companies had been mixed. Some have said they will go along with the temporary plan. Others say they will challenge it in court.

“It’s not a popular action to take, but from our perspective we have to do what we can to get the port moving again,” said Wilson.

And while the licensing deal may sound like a victory for the truckers, Wilson said some were still not satisfied.

“Apparently some of the truck drivers are not keen on it being just a 90-day agreement. They wanted the original two-year agreement,” Wilson said.

The port plans to implement the licensing plan Thursday, Aug. 4.

– By Reed Black, staff writer