TSI issues force majeure as PMV truck strikes grind trade to a halt


Stephen Edwards, president and CEO of GCT Global Container Terminals Inc, has announced that subsidiary company TSI has issued a force majeure in light of the current truck strikes causing havoc with trade at Port Metro Vancouver (PMV).

The announcement comes after a strike involving up to 1,000 non-unionised drivers began on February 26th over poor loading times and low wages.

Since then, Unifor-VCTA members have also joined, picketing at different points throughout the city, blocking roads and slowing transport.

In the statement, Edwards states that the “inability to serve” call will only apply to import containers destined for local delivery, whilst all other services remain unaffected.

This follows a proposal brought forward by federal transport minister Lisa Raitt, in hopes of concluding the strikes and returning to service as normal.

Under the rules of the new proposal, regulated wages would increase within a month, whilst a full review would be completed by next year. This would include a set rate for fuel-surcharges on delayed vehicles.

The port would also be willing to conclude a lawsuit filed against the United Truckers Association that represents the thousands of non-unionised workers, upon the hopes that they accept the proposed deal.

This would include the renewal of any licence suspensions made during the strikes, unless the driver in question was involved in suspected criminal activity.

It is believed that the union has organised a meeting with federal officials on Friday to continue discussions.

PMV authorities suspect that since the strikes formation, up to $885 million worth of cargo has been affected per week.

More so, there is further fear that with companies, such as TSI, issuing force majeure, suppliers will be forced to begin to move their cargo via alternative routes.

Peter Xotta, vice-president of operations for PMV noted this danger whilst speaking to the province: “The port has thousands of users, and each one of them is assessing their supply chain alternatives.

“In many cases, when someone tries a new alternative and it’s successful, it kind of sticks.”

As the strike continues, these fears gain strength.

Should the dispute be resolved by next week, TSI are willing to immediately review the need to apply restrictions on their customers, however it is uncertain what steps will be taken, if the strike were to continue.

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