A Thorough Makeover

Last week the federal government got involved in the container trucker’s strike in Vancouver. The Honourable David L. Emerson, Canada’s Minister of Industry, after calling the event a “sordid chapter” in the port’s history, announced the appointment of a three-man task force whose assignment would be to deliver recommendations to the federal, provincial and local governments about regulatory or other changes that should be made in order to ensure the integrity and competitiveness of the Vancouver gateway. The minister admitted that the review may not be completed before the end of the 90-day licensing scheme imposed by the Vancouver Authority, but he doubted that any gap would cause further strike action, and was hopeful that the preliminary report would serve as an act of good faith that a long-term solution will be hammered out.

Last May we read about the good faith agreement between the Port of Miami and protesting truck drivers. Ron Carver of the Teamsters said it was “an important step forward”. Chris Morton of the Port of Miami said, “We view the trucking industry as an essential partner”. Eduardo Verdayes of the Support Trucking Group said, “Neither of us can succeed alone”. Circumstances beyond the control of either side, however, gave occasion to further grievance just last week, and the truckers at the port are once again exercising their right to organize and seek better working conditions.

The troubles in Vancouver mirror those in Miami. It all boils down to driver dissatisfaction because fair wages can not be paid to truckers under the primitive operating methods that have held sway in the intermodal industry for almost 50 years. Try as they may, the sincere task force members in Vancouver will be unable to hammer out a long-term solution that will “ensure the integrity and competitiveness of the Vancouver gateway”. That optimistic goal will not be reached there or anywhere else until a thorough makeover takes place in the industry. Even now the BC Trucking Association along with a significant number of drivers are showing their displeasure. They are aware that “measures” have a price.

The root cause of all the difficulties — all the difficulties — is the lack of space. Most ports have long since run into this roadblock, and this predicament had been anticipated by a large number of maritime authorities.. The mode of operation continued unchanged, however, even though it was the mode of operation that required ever-increasing amounts of acreage. It’s as though a driver is speeding toward a brick wall but insists on keeping his/her foot on the accelerator.

All through this website we’ve been describing the ways our patented systems would end, once and for all, the difficulties plaguing the supply chain. There’s nothing complicated about it — the trouble is in the terminal. Our method of storing, retrieving and delivering containers involves nothing more than retrofitting container terminals with our mobile racking system, thereby condensing operations into one-tenth the area used by conventional operations. A portion of the unused acreage can then be used to set up in-house trucking operations employing full-time and generously paid drivers. The efficiency of the system does away with strikes, produces greater profits for terminal operators and generates much higher amounts of revenue for communities. It’s exactly what the industry wants.