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Consequences of West Coast shipping lockout goes beyond the ports

Last Updated May 30, 2019 at 8:47 am PST

GCT Deltaport, Delta, British Columbia. (Source: GCT Delaport)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With port workers along our coast set to be locked out starting Thursday, we’re taking a look at how you will be impacted.

One of the possible impacts will be the number of trucks moving in and out of the local ports.

Rob Ashton, president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, said there are “roughly 2,000 truck moves a day through the gates of Delta port.” But fewer trucks will mean less traffic on local roads. He estimates between 750 to 1,000 truck moves daily at Vanterm, depending on the day.

“It is a significant amount of moves that will be lost, which is truly unfortunate.”

RELATED: Union says lockout notice for B.C. port workers ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’

Ashton said his members remain frustrated, but he remains hopeful a last-minute deal can be worked out.

“The membership is truly frustrated because Jeff Scott was out there on Monday in the media saying they don’t want it escalated, business as usual, and then on Tuesday they come out with lockout notice,” he said. “It was like, here i’m going to punch you in the chin type of thing, right? It’s a good thing we’ve got a strong chin.”

The need to reship products or to move products through the United States will also lead to increased prices, Ashton added, saying that dependence would last for the duration of a lockout.

RELATED: Union says port workers still on the job in B.C., despite lockout notice

Greg Wilson, director of Government Relations for the Retail Council of Canada, said that people may also feel the effect as prices on individuals items increases.

“This has a huge economic impact and, so you know, once the federal government sort of understands that, presumably the federal government will have to do more to get the two parties back to the table and to come to a solution,” he told NEWS 1130.

“They would notice it in shortages of individual items, which is to say, individual items particularly at smaller retailers who are going to be less adept at reselling things that are out of stock, which is somewhere in the shipping supply chain,” Wilson said.

Longshore workers have been without a contract for 17 months.

According to the chairman of the B.C. Maritime Employers Association, the decision for a potential lockout didn’t come lightly considering the potential widespread financial impact one could have. Chairman Jeff Scott says that impact could amount to about $5 billion a day across Canada.


-With files from Simon Druker