Truckers Boycott Houston Container Yard
March 16, 2000
A three-day boycott of a container yard at the Port of Houston’s Barbours Cut Terminal has received widespread support from the 1,000 - 1,500 truckers who serve the port.
“I didn’t initiate this,” said John May, president of Team Transport and current president of the Texas Intermodal Truckers Assn. “But I have to say that I support my drivers and I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from trucking companies within the community.”
Nobody seems to know who did organize the boycott, expected to last through Friday, but there is universal agreement on the issues. For years, truckers have complained that J.J. Flanagan Shipping, which operates the yard, doesn’t property maintain equipment which results in delays and, often, citations issued to drivers. The yard is only open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and closed for lunch, which doesn’t coincide with terminal operating hours. Boycott supporters estimate that longer hours and roadworthy equipment would enable drivers to make one more trip a day which equates to an extra $500 to $800 a week.
May hastens to point out that port and terminal authorities have “done everything in their power” to to make productivity and turn times better for truckers. “The issue is between the trucking community and J.J. Flanagan Shipping yard,” he says.
Truckers also complain of the condition of the yard and J.J. Flanagan’s attitude toward drivers. “I’m not going to say that the drivers themselves aren’t somewhat responsible for that negative attitude,” says May, “but tempers are bound to flare when you’re fighting potholes and you can’t turn around because boxes and chassis are stacked everywhere and you don’t have anything repairs and ready for the driver to pull out.” J.J. Flanagan had no comment.