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VBOT warns port shutdown will hurt B.C.’s economy

March 10, 2014

For Immediate Release

March 10, 2014

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Vancouver Board of Trade is expressing grave concerns about a looming work stoppage planned by Unifor and the United Truckers Association (UTA), which would seriously affect operations at Port Metro Vancouver — the largest and busiest port in Canada.

On behalf of thousands of businesses across the Lower Mainland, The Vancouver Board of Trade is urging Unifor and the UTA to work with the port to find a solution to truck drivers’ complaints, rather than drive away business and jeopardize our local economy.

“This is a very complex situation, involving regulation, enforcement, and legislation spread across two different levels of government. It is not reasonable to think this situation can be solved over night, regardless of how legitimate the truckers’ concerns may be,” said Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade.

“It’s estimated that up to $885 million in trucking cargo — or the equivalent of 1.3 million 20-foot-long containers — is already being disrupted each week,” noted Black. “This is setting off alarm bells for our members. If that cargo doesn’t leave through Port Metro Vancouver, our fear is that it will start leaving through competing ports in Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. We can’t afford to lose that business.”

In addition, The Vancouver Board of Trade is also reminding Unifor and the UTA that concerns about their employment conditions should be targeted toward their employers.

“Port Metro Vancouver is neither the employer nor the contractor. Given the numbers of jobs involved and the impact to the provincial and national economy, we don’t feel it’s appropriate to be blocking access to the port,” said Elio Luongo, 2013-14 Chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade and Canadian Managing Partner, Tax, for KPMG.

“To our knowledge, the port is doing everything it can to be amenable and work with the truckers, but it can’t do anything to directly solve the disputes, as legitimate as they may be.”

The Vancouver Board of Trade remains hopeful that the disruption can be solved swiftly, so that Port Metro Vancouver can resume its role as a major economic force that strengthens Canada’s economy.

About The Vancouver Board of Trade:

For 127 years, The Vancouver Board of Trade has worked on behalf of our region’s business community to promote prosperity through commerce, trade, and free enterprise. As Western Canada’s largest, most active, most engaged business organization, The Vancouver Board of Trade strives to enable and empower its members to succeed, grow and prosper in the global economy. For more information, visit boardoftrade.com.

Media Contact:

Greg Hoekstra, Communications Officer
604-640-5450 | media@boardoftrade.com

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