Dollars and Sense

The Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association is on strike.  Everyone knows that by now.  There may be other reasons for driver dissatisfaction, but the two most obvious ones are: insufficient compensation, and costly delays while attempting to pick up containers.


Has it occurred to anyone in authority to address the causes that have brought on this walkout, or are mediators and principals concerned only with the pushing and shoving typical of labor-management confrontations?  The only possible answer, of course, is that the cause and the effect, as usual, are so closely tied together that they appear to be indistinguishable.  Let’s clear up the confusion.


As in most strikes, the  cause seems to be the unwillingness, or the inability, of management to pay the rate of compensation demanded by labor.  In the end, of course, there will be a compromise.  There always is a compromise because that’s what’s necessary to bring about a settlement of the issues.  And in the end, each side, though forced to back down somewhat, usually gloats over the fact that it succeeded in winning desired concessions from the opposition.  Each side, then, feels as though it prevailed.  The real losers are those bystanders, the merchants and consumers who ultimately will pay for the concessions, and who actually sustained the financial setbacks during the dispute.  When all is said and done, the cause, or causes of these strikes, are still unaddressed, and continue to fester until economic circumstances eventuate a repeat occurrence at some future date.


In some industries and occupations things never change, so it is impossible, therefore, to do away with the causes of periodic and disruptive slowdowns and strikes.  But fortunately for the containerization industry, changes are possible, and because these changes are imminent, although still unrecognized, the unnoticed causes which have produced so much disarray in the transportation supply chain will soon be eliminated.  The operations at the Port of Vancouver, for example, are no different from the operations in any other container port.  Container handling here, as elsewhere, is still in a primitive state.  The methods are clumsy and costly.  Every unnecessary step in this unaltered system is a waste of precious dollars … dollars which would be more wisely used to mollify those on both sides of the negotiating table.


On second thought, if those wasted dollars had could be made available through updated and cost-efficient methods of container handling, there would be no occasion to meet during periods of dissatisfaction and confrontation.  By now it should be clear to the reader that the installation of our patented storage, retrieval and delivery system would have provided truckers in Vancouver what they are now, almost hopelessly, demanding.  Nor would management entities be asked to make begrudging sacrifices in order for labor entities to achieve this reasonable wage scale because all monies would be paid to them through dramatically reduced operational costs.  The most significant change in this “updated and cost-efficient” method of container handling would be the employment of these drivers at guaranteed salaries … salaries that cannot possibly be provided in today’s primitive method of terminal operations.


Who would win?  Everyone along the entire length of the supply chain.  Who would lose?  No one.