Vancouver warns of strike and lockout damage

GCT Vanterm Vanterm and Deltaport container terminals have already been affected by the strike action. Credit: GCT Canada

The Port of Vancouver has stressed how a withdrawal of labour would be “extremely disruptive” as the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) goes ahead with its plan to lock out workers on 30 May in retaliation to the International Longshoreman Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada’s plans for strike action.

Limited action began on 27 May with an overtime ban at the Port of Vancouver’s Vanterm and Deltaport container terminals, operated by Global Container Terminals (GCT) Canada, but on 29 May the BCMEA issued a strike lockout notice from 8am on 30 May, said ILWU Canada on its website

The Port of Vancouver told Port Strategy: “One dollar of every three of Canada’s trade in goods beyond North America moves through the Port of Vancouver, so any type of work stoppage would be extremely disruptive to the business of the port and would have immediate and direct negative impacts throughout the supply chain, and on Canada’s economy.”

Talks in progress

ILWU Canada said its bargaining committee met with federal mediators on 29 May to try and secure a collective agreement for longshore workers.

“We hope a disruption can be avoided, and that the two parties can reach a resolution quickly,” said the Port of Vancouver.

Deltaport is currently Canada’s largest container terminal, with 10 gantry cranes, three berths, on-dock rail facilities and the only quad lift crane in North or South America.

Vanterm has six gantry cranes, on-dock rail facilities for containerized cargo, and handles containerized cargo, project cargo and bulk oils from the adjacent West Coast Reduction facility. GCT Canada recently announced a US$160m investment to densify and modernise Vanterm.

Strikes last affected the Port of Vancouver in 2014.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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