On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the eight-point action plan proposed by the BC Trucking Association (BCTA) to address long-standing issues in the container drayage sector and get the port moving again was wrongly and regrettably dismissed in the media as a “backroom deal.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Backroom” usually describes something done in secret involving only a privileged few people. Instead, BCTA’s eight-point action plan is the product of a meeting to which BCTA invited any and all members involved in the drayage sector and affected by the work stoppage. BCTA is an open and inclusive association, driven by its members and guided by a strong set of core values. In the case of this meeting, 30 members attended and participated in developing the action plan.
Even though it was trucking company owners who drafted BCTA’s eight-point action plan, it addresses all the issues that have been publicized as driver concerns. Not surprisingly, there is considerable overlap between the concerns of trucking company owners and drivers.
Drivers report they’re concerned about wait times. This is because many drivers (owner-operators who own and operate their own vehicle contracted to a trucking company) are paid by the trip. Wait time is unproductive time. Companies care about productivity too, since it directly affects revenue generation.
Drivers report they want to get rid of unfair competitors. Companies do too. This is because competitors that cut corners unfairly harm those who operate responsibly and play by the rules.
BCTA’s plan is designed to promote efficiency of and access to marine container terminals, support industry-wide auditing of compensation practices and compensate trucking companies or owner-operators – whoever is out-of-pocket – when wait times become excessive. There is no hidden agenda and the plan is available for all to see on Port Metro Vancouver’s website.
This disruption of service at Port Metro Vancouver has shone a light on some very real issues and concerns. Port Metro Vancouver has made commitments to address those issues and concerns in public and in good faith. Prolonging the disruption isn’t going to bring about solutions any faster than would otherwise happen.
If the disruption continues, it will have a long-term negative impact on the reputation of Canada’s Gateway to the Asia Pacific and will overwhelm the positive gains that can result from the eight-point action plan. We need to get the gateway moving again, and to get everyone working together on long term solutions that will make the gateway more efficient and productive.
Backroom deals benefit only a privileged few. BCTA’s eight-point action plan benefits the industry, its customers and everyone in the supply chain.
BCTA, a member-based, non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization, is the recognised voice of the provincial motor carrier industry, representing over 1,200 truck and motor coach fleets and over 225 suppliers to the industry. BCTA members operate over 13,000 vehicles, employ 26,000 people, and generate over $2 billion in revenue annually in the province.