AFTER years of advocacy on behalf of Independent Operators (IOs) and drivers, the United Truckers Association (UTA) said on Tuesday it is pleased with two significant announcements made in both the public and private sectors.
Struggling with stagnant legislated wages, inadequate regulation and oversight, and unfulfilled commitments from the 2014 Joint Action Plan, IOs were pleased to learn the details of a BC government directive to the Office of the BC Container Trucking Commissioner.
Further, the UTA’s campaign against the unfair and expensive daytime appointment terminal fees has resulted in a new pilot project from Global Container Terminals Canada (“GCT”) (which operates both the GCT Vanterm and GCT Deltaport terminals) that will benefit the ability of IOs to earn a living.
In 2014, all Port of Vancouver container terminals introduced a $50 reservation fee for daytime appointments as part of the Terminal Gate Efficiency Program. This caused huge disruptions for IOs who as a result, were shifted to night pickups to accommodate customers trying to avoid paying.
GCT’s pilot program announcement will now make all appointments – regardless of time of day – $35, a move that is expected to provide more productivity in scheduling, better operational flexibility for both companies and drivers, and further enable double-ended moves.
Both announcements represent the culmination of years of building relationships while pushing for change, said UTA spokesperson Gagan Singh.
“The UTA has always worked collaboratively with all levels of government, the Commissioner’s Office, and private operators to improve industry fairness competitiveness for all stakeholders,” said Singh. “The announcements from the BC government and GCT demonstrate how effective the UTA has been at utilizing data, facts and real-world experiences from our members to initiate change.”
The wage hikes and other measures will commence on June 1 and be administered by the BC Container Trucking Commissioner. The GCT pilot project will also launch on June 1 at GCT Vanterm and GCT Deltaport (the only terminals involved in the project) and conclude on December 31.
The UTA said there was still much work to do and it will continue its efforts on behalf of its members on May 20 when elected members of both the federal and provincial governments will meet with UTA’s membership.