VANCOUVER, B.C. – Port Metro Vancouver is expanding its GPS program.
A total of $1.71 million has been committed by the port and the federal and provincial governments in order to outfit the remaining 50% of the container truck fleet with the geotracking technology. Originally, GPS transponders were placed in about half of the fleet qualified to operate under Port Metro Vancouver’s Truck Licensing System (TLS) between 2012 and 2013 as part of the port’s Smart Fleet Trucking Strategy.
The move to finish the GPS installation is a result of the efforts to implement the Joint Action Plan that was developed by the federal and provincial governments to end the labour unrest at the port earlier this year. By having a better understanding of the location of all of the container truck fleet, the port hopes to reduce congestion and wait-times. According to a statement, issued on behalf of the port and the two levels of government, the GPS-generated data “is also essential for the full implementation of the Joint Action Plan, including for elements such as a common reservation system, and for determining wait time fees.”
Transport Canada is contributing the majority of the funding, by providing $855,000. Port Metro Vancouver’s share is $595,000, and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is responsible for $260,000. Once the system is fully in place, Port Metro Vancouver will be the only port in North America to have GPS-monitoring for its entire truck fleet.
The program schedule calls for all of the eligible trucks to be outfitted with the technology by July.
Along with progress on GPS deployment, Port Metro Vancouver has released an update on the other steps taken in support of the Joint Action Plan.
To date, the steering committee developed to oversee the plan has met five times. Members of the committee include representatives from Transport Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, Port Metro Vancouver, the marine terminals, the United Truckers Association, Unifor and the Teamsters. In addition the port has been holding consultation meetings with parties interested in the future of the Truck Licensing System. So far 12 discussions have taken place and representatives from shippers, carriers and trucking companies have all submitted proposals about how they would like to see the TLS evolve. Mediator Vincent Ready is scheduled to begin reviewing all of the work done on the plan beginning in mid-May, and he is expected to produce his findings by mid-June.
Outside of talks, the port has also created a staffed call centre to respond directly to questions from drivers and trucking companies about licensing and permit requirements. It has also decided to waive the “Terminal Gate Compliance Fee paid by trucking companies to terminals for missed reservations… where terminal delays are excessive.”
Other changes are still in the works. The port said it “continues to develop the common reservation system. Terminal operating companies have proposed leading this program, which is now being considered.” It also said “a whistleblower mechanism is expected by June 15, 2104 to give truckers a way to make complaints about rates, intimidation and harassment.”
It seems, however, the port has hit at least one snag in its plans.
“A pilot project to extend gate hours by independent terminal operators has been delayed because it requires the coordination of the three independent terminal operating companies—DP World (Canada) Inc., TSI Terminal Systems Inc., and Fraser Surrey Docks LP—many shippers and other stakeholders. Port Metro Vancouver continues to work with all parties to coordinate the complicated effort.”
The other major development to the Joint Action Plan is the federal government, through Transport Canada, issued a clarification explaining in detail the fuel surcharge and the trip rates.