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Vancouver Port Hopes to Avoid Another Strike by Independents

December 21, 2000

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The Vancouver Port Authority is hoping the British Columbia Trucking Assn. can help it avert a shutdown by independent truckers who say the port has not lived up to promises it made to end a 1999 shutdown.

The port's licensing program, hammered out in an interim agreement, promised an hourly wage for drivers and decreased waiting times at terminals.
Now port officials say the measures have reduced waiting times at terminals so much that they are going to make the interim agreement permanent, reports the Journal of Commerce -- without the hourly wage provision.
"It is now collectively believed that existing and ongoing initiatives such as a reservation system, live Internet cameras at terminal gates, and improved efficiency at the container terminals has diminished the requirement for this cumbersome provision," said port officials in a prepared statement.
But the port truckers did not agree. They refused to apply for the necessary licenses without the hourly wage provision. The port could ban the unlicensed truckers from operating on port property.

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Faced with the prospect of another shutdown that could jeopardize the port's reputation as containers pile up, port authorities decided to postpone implementation of the licensing system, which was supposed to go into effect Dec. 31. Instead, they are talking to the BCTA. Although the association doesn't represent all the truckers hauling containers in the port, it is seen as being familiar with the problems facing owner-operators.

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