VANCOUVER, June 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, and the Honourable Todd Stone, British Columbia's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, issued a joint statement today noting progress on the Joint Action Plan of March 26, 2014, to achieve stability in the Port Metro Vancouver trucking industry.
"A great deal has been accomplished over the past two months, such as increases to the rates to be paid to truckers. However, we remain very concerned about the consistent application of these rates and will not hesitate to take action to ensure compliance with the Joint Action Plan. As an immediate measure, the provincial audit program is being strengthened and targeted investigations are underway.
"While we are actively working on rate compliance, the Action Plan also includes measures to reduce wait times at the port. In response, the port marine terminals are extending their hours and the container truck GPS installation project aimed at reducing congestion and wait times at the port is already near completion. While these are all positive steps, it is imperative that, taken together, they work for everyone impacted. We have asked our officials to continue to work with the port terminals and drayage community to make sure these steps improve port productivity and do not result in a download of costs to the truckers that make this sector such a success. Pivotal to this progress has been advisor Vince Ready. His recent recommendations on implementing key elements of the Joint Action Plan were accepted without hesitation by our governments, Port Metro Vancouver and other partners.
"And more is to come. We are pleased to announce that Mr. Ready will also continue his work for an additional 90 days to ensure progress continues and that necessary steps are taken to achieve long-term stability at the port. More specifically, Mr. Ready will be asked to provide additional recommendations on further measures to address trucker remuneration including for off-dock container movements. Any advice and recommendations made by Mr. Ready will be taken very seriously by our governments.
"The Joint Action Plan was ambitious, but we are committed to ensuring Canada's busiest port and critical part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway is able to move marine containers efficiently and build on its global reputation for outstanding service to users."
PROGRESS UPDATE ON JOINT ACTION PLAN
The Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, Port Metro Vancouver and other partners have been collectively implementing an action plan to ensure the stability of container truck operations at the port since March 26, 2014.
To date, the following actions have been taken:
Commitment: Unifor and the United Truckers Association promised truckers would immediately return to work upon acceptance of the Joint Action Plan.
- Status: Completed - The port has returned to full operation.
Commitment: Immediately upon resumption of normal trucking operations, Port Metro Vancouver promised to rescind license suspensions.
- Status: Completed - Port Metro Vancouver delivered on this commitment immediately after the release of the Joint Action Plan.
Commitment: All parties, including representatives from the unionized and non-unionized trucking community, the terminals, Port Metro Vancouver, and the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, committed to forming a steering committee to monitor implementation of the Joint Action Plan.
- Status: Completed and ongoing - A steering committee, chaired by the Government of Canada, has been meeting weekly since late March 2014.
Commitment: The Government of Canada committed to increase trip rates by 12 percent over the 2006 Ready Rates within 30 days of truckers' return to work.
- Status: Completed and ongoing - The Government of Canada amended the Port Authorities Operations Regulations to increase container trucking rates at Port Metro Vancouver by 12 percent, effective April 3, 2014. Companies in violation of their requirement to pay their drivers the regulated rates/surcharges are being investigated and their licenses at risk of termination.
Commitment: The Government of Canada committed to increase the fuel surcharge to be paid to owner operator drivers.
- Status: Completed - The Government of Canada amended the Port Authorities Operations Regulations to double the fuel surcharge paid to truck owner operators.
Commitment: The Government of Canada and Port Metro Vancouver promised to expedite the roll-out of the next phase of the GPS project to outfit the balance of the trucking fleet with GPS technology.
- Status: On track for early completion - The Governments of Canada and British Columbia, and Port Metro Vancouver announced joint funding of $1.71 million on May 2, 2014, to expedite the outfitting of the remainder of the container truck fleet that serve Port Metro Vancouver terminals with GPS technology. Full GPS installation nearly completed.
Commitment: The Province of British Columbia promised to engage unions and their certified employer companies regarding renewing collective agreements.
- Status: Completed and ongoing - The Province of British Columbia is offering mediation to trucking companies and unions whose collective agreements have expired.
Commitment: Port Metro Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia committed to work together to provide a mechanism for reporting concerns related to compliance with the Truck License System requirements.
- Status: On track - A direct telephone line to the Dispute Resolution Program has been established to allow complaints to be registered, with plans by Port Metro Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia to further improve this service with a full 24/7 toll-free number.
Commitment: The Province of British Columbia promised to strengthen its audit program.
- Status: On track - The Province of British Columbia is expanding its audits of trucking companies, and is responding to instances of non-compliance with recommendations to the Port of Metro Vancouver for specific, severe penalties for rate violators.
Commitment: The Governments of Canada and British Columbia, and Port Metro Vancouver committed to rapidly reviewing and responding to any recommendations made by advisor Vince Ready on the Action Plan.
- Status: Completed and ongoing - On May 21, 2014, the Governments of Canada and British Columbia immediately accepted recommendations made by advisor Vince Ready on steps to implement key elements of the Joint Action Plan. Any further recommendations made by Mr. Ready will be seriously considered by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia.
Commitment: Terminals and Port Metro Vancouver committed to rapidly implementing an extended hours pilot project to respond to volumes forecasted.
- Status: Completed - Night gate operations at the port (five days a week) were announced on May 27, 2014, by TSI Terminal Systems Inc. and DP World Inc. The extended hours will come into effect July 1, 2014.
Commitment: Terminal Gate Compliance Fee to be waived when excessive delays encountered at a terminal.
- Status: Completed - Port terminals have implemented this action.
Commitment: Port Metro Vancouver promised to establish a mechanism for directing the Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee (i.e. Waiting Time Fee) to be paid to owner operators.
- Status: On track - Following Advisor Vince Ready's recommendations, which were endorsed by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, Port Metro Vancouver has taken steps to direct Terminal Gate Efficiency Fees to truckers.
Commitment: Port Metro Vancouver committed to consulting the trucking industry on the restructuring of the Truck License System with the intent to start implementing initial reforms quickly.
- Status: Ongoing - Port Metro Vancouver held 14 consultations with the container trucking industry, including a session with the United Truckers Association and Unifor. Work will continue through the summer.
Commitment: Port Metro Vancouver, in consultation with terminals and trucking stakeholders, promised to implement an enhanced common reservation system by January 2015 to address concerns related to the current reservation system.
- Status: On track - Port Metro Vancouver is working with stakeholders to develop and implement this system. With the announcement of $3 million in federal funding, significant parts of the enhanced common reservation system are expected to be in place before next year.
SOURCE Transport Canada