Job action looms at Vancouver port over truck age policy

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Site visitors on the Port of Vancouver might be disrupted as quickly as subsequent week as truckers affected by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Rolling Truck Age Program ponder job motion as early as Aug. 1.

From Sept. 15, the port will ban container-hauling vans with model years older than 2006, to enhance air high quality and group well being.

United Truckers Affiliation (UTA) spokesperson Gagan Singh mentioned members will meet July 31 in Surrey to determine on the job motion. Talks are underway with politicians from completely different events, however there was no dialogue with port officers.

Picture of containers and a truck at the Port of Vancouver
(Picture: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority)

The port authority instructed trucknews.com that because the UTA isn’t a union, the job motion could be characterised as a withdrawal of service slightly than a strike.

“We acknowledge the UTA members’ rights to lawfully protest and specific their views and would take a measured response to any operational impacts on the port ought to any UTA members withdraw their service,” a port authority spokesperson mentioned.

All container trucking companies seeking to serve the port’s marine container terminals should meet sure standards – together with minimal truck age, security, and environmental necessities – to entry the federally owned port property beneath the Truck Licensing System (TLS).

Paul Nagra, president of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Affiliation, mentioned this system needs to be delayed for 2 years. “Vans are very costly on account of provide shortages and wait instances have elevated. Costs have risen as a result of there isn’t a lot used stock,” he mentioned.

The port’s Rogge mentioned the business was given loads of time to organize for the transfer. Of the 1,800 vans that function, 80% already comply. About 270 vans owned by firms and impartial operators stay to get replaced.

Sixteen vans will instantly be affected on Sept. 15. He mentioned varied vans will age out on milestone dates that embody Feb. 1 and July 1, 2023.

Picture of Baljinder Sall
Baljinder Sall together with his 2003 Kenworth W900. (Picture: Equipped)

A private price

Baljinder Sall, one of many truckers instantly affected by this system, operates a 2003 Kenworth W900 powered by a Caterpillar 550 engine, and feels he’s being unfairly focused.

“My truck runs nice and has handed the ministry of transportation inspection. It has been paid off. If I purchase a brand new automobile the month-to-month funds can be about $4,000,” mentioned the 53-year-old who has been a industrial driver for 3 a long time.

Sall’s son is disabled, and his spouse doesn’t work so she will take care of him. “He can’t stroll, discuss, or eat on his personal. So, I can’t work removed from dwelling. I’ve to remain shut by,” he mentioned.

UTA’s Singh argues that if an older truck is bought, it’s going to simply be purchased and almost definitely utilized by somebody in the identical space. The affiliation claims the port is focusing on simply 2% of vans in B.C., too.

“If atmosphere is the priority, how come the port is the most important coal exporter in North America?” Singh requested.

Rogge countered the port doesn’t handle or decide Canada’s commerce coverage. The federal authorities does. There’s additionally a number of regulation to decarbonize coal exports, he added.

Picture of a flagger at Port of Vancouver
(Picture: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority)

Tom Johnson, head of media relations for the Port Transportation Affiliation (PTA), mentioned the group created by drayage trucking firm homeowners has instructed UTA and the port authority that, if there’s job motion, its drivers won’t be compelled to cross picket strains.

“If the UTA members do protest, the port gates are going to be blocked. It’ll stall the Canadian economic system,” he warned.

The port’s Rogge predicted such applications will grow to be extra commonplace because the federal and provincial governments attempt to obtain environmental aims. “We have to concentrate on the impacts inside our jurisdiction. We all know we’re doing the best factor,” he mentioned.

Getting ready to conform

Within the meantime, some trucking firms that function on the port are already gearing as much as adjust to the coverage.

“We might want to procure new gear and replace our fleet because the Rolling Truck Age Program progresses,” Delta-based Sandhar Trucking mentioned in a press release. “A brand new 2022 truck will price roughly $250,000 and we’ll almost definitely have to buy newer vans to allow them to keep within the port for an extended time period. It’s not price it for us to buy older vans as a result of they are going to be faraway from the port’s Rolling Truck Age program a lot earlier than a 2022 model.”

The problem is that dealerships lack stock.

“Presently, we’re not sure the place we’ll buy new vans to fulfill the necessities,” the provider mentioned.

Kimberly Transport, additionally primarily based in Delta, says it’s going to spend about $750,000 to obtain newer gear.

Normal supervisor Johnson (who can be the PTA spokesman) mentioned the corporate has been shopping for new gear as older vans age out, and repairs are cost-prohibitive. “We’ve solely a small handful of models left that don’t meet the minimal age requirement,” he added.

Resulting from lengthy wait lists, the corporate is “maintaining an eye fixed open for something which will come accessible and or retiring a few of our freeway fleet early to make use of them on the town.”

Johnson mentioned that carriers can be required to indebt themselves on an ongoing foundation as this system eliminates vans yearly.

Decreasing emissions

The port itself expects to eradicate 37 tons of particulate matter per 12 months, utilizing the 2019 fleet as a base and evaluating it to the fleet anticipated in July 2023. That’s the equal to eradicating 200,000 passenger automobiles from the highway. The aim is to be carbon-free by 2050.

Initially scheduled for Feb. 1, 2022, this system’s launch was postponed after federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra requested the port authority to contemplate a brief delay to hunt additional enter from stakeholders.

In response, the port authority carried out two rounds of public engagement with TLS contributors, business associations and stakeholders, Indigenous teams, native authorities, and group organizations to assist revise the plan.  

Nagra mentioned Unifor participated in each rounds — two digital conferences — and offered two written submissions to the port.

The UTA, nonetheless, declined to take part. “It was not a session. It was an data session. We refused to be part of that. We wished it to be in particular person with Transport Canada and somebody from the ministry,” Singh mentioned.

As older automobiles must be changed, the port doesn’t count on owner-operators and corporations to purchase new automobiles. They solely have to adjust to the principles. For instance, a 2014 or newer truck can function on the port till not less than 2026 — and even a pair years past that by means of an exception course of that requires factory-installed environmental gear to be current and functioning.

Because the change comes into impact, although, driver Sall has no concept what the longer term holds for him. Thus far, he has earned an honest dwelling hauling masses on the port.

“I can’t work in building, I’m not that younger,” he mentioned. “I’ve no clue what I’ll do.”

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