UTA says Port of Vancouver’s Rolling Truck Age Program being shelved because of its efforts

THE United Truckers Association (UTA) said on Friday that it is celebrating the Port of Vancouver’s announcement that it is further delaying the Rolling Truck Age Program to “reassess our emissions strategy” so that no less than nine months of consultation with “the drayage sector, the port community, government, and local Indigenous communities to refine the approach moving forward.”

The UTA’s February 11 meeting attracted over 2,000 container truckers, as well as various community leaders from the Punjabi community as well as MPs from both the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition.

The UTA said it was able to clearly demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Port on two key points:

1) The Port claim of the program reducing emissions equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road is moot when considering their annual coal exports, which release emissions equal to putting 15 million cars onto the road;

2) 98% of BC’s 90,000 commercial vehicles face different standards regarding pollution, where trucks are not judged on age, but rather on the amount of emissions they release into the atmosphere.

Following the meeting, four of the Liberal government MPs in attendance wrote a letter to federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra asking for the program to be cancelled, as all the burden of cost was being unfairly put on the backs of container truckers during a severe economic downturn.

This reversal of policy and approach by the Port of Vancouver is a testament to the UTA’s members and the vast number of community allies who acted in solidarity, according to UTA spokesperson Gagan Singh.

“The intervention of local MPs and the Minister was prompted by the overwhelming show of strength by UTA members and our local community partners, and we thank everyone for their efforts,” said Singh. “The Rolling Truck Age Program represents a huge injustice which targets container truckers in comparison to all other commercial operators, and we are anxious to work with the Port of Vancouver and government to find a fairer alternative.”

The UTA said it is supportive of environmental protection and reducing pollution, but has consistently called for the Port’s approach to target emissions, not people. Arbitrary criteria like truck age or the way in which a truck looks (both things that the Port’s program factored in) should never be put ahead of the only measure that counts: how much particulate matter a truck is releasing into the atmosphere?

The UTA said it will continue to amplify the voices of thousands of container truckers in this period of consultation and program restructuring by the Port.

“We will be active and fully participate in upcoming discussions by offering tangible solutions that will improve air quality while ensuring equal, fair treatment for all container truckers,” added Singh.