Container truckers in British Columbia to get rate increase

A truck with a container at the Port of Vancouver. photo: Shutterstock

Container truckers in British Columbia will see their hourly and trip rates increase by 2 percent as part of a package of reforms implemented by the provincial government.

The move, announced on April 18, will affect about 1,700 drivers. It includes truckers at the Port of Vancouver, who went on strike in 2014 over wages and wait times.

“The rate structure will help ensure fair compensation for drivers and increases will vary depending on the trip and the hours worked,” British Columbia’s ministry of transportation said in a statement.

The provincial government will also review the potential impact of including the intermodal terminals of Canadian National Railways (NYSE:CNI) and Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE:CP) in the on-dock rates for trucks.

Apart from rates, the ministry said it planned to implement most recommendations from a 75-page report intended to avert a repeat of the 2014 strike. The port was effectively shut down for nearly four weeks, and millions of dollars of cargo were stranded.

“Many industry stakeholders participated in the rate review. The recommendations in the report reflect their input and I want to thank each of them for their efforts,” stated Michael Crawford, British Columbia’s container trucking commissioner, whose office wrote the report. “Government’s measured approach to the implementation of the recommendations benefits drivers and will ensure the ongoing stability and advancement of the sector.”

Unifor, the union representing container truckers, welcomed the increase in rates and revised pay structure. The union has long-complained that container drivers have been unpaid for traveling with empty loads.

“Nobody should have to work for free,” said Paul Johal, of the Unifor-Vancouver Container Trucker Association. “Unifor made a submission to the Commissioner’s rate review and impressed upon the government that fair rates will provide stability in Lower Mainland’s port trucking industry.”

Unifor said the rate changes put it on “firm footing” for contract negotiations on agreements ending on July 30.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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