The longshore strike at Canada’s west coast ports is now well into its third day. Although negotiations betwen the parties have been ongoing since last Wednesday morning with the aid of federal mediators, the BC Maritime Employers Association has issued an UPDATE indicating that an impasse in the negotiations appears to have been reached. The BCMEA’s bulletin notes that its negotiators have gone as far as possible on a number of core issues (including jurisdiction over work and compensation), and that a continuation of bargaining at this time is not likely to produce a collective agreement. As a result, the negotiations now appear to have stalled.
External pressure on the government to take action to bring the strike to an end has intensified over the long weekend, and an increasing number of business associations and other stakeholders are calling on the Prime Minister to recall Parliament so it can introduce back-to-work legislation. So far, however, there has been no indication from the government that it is ready to do so.
From an operational perspective, the Port of Vancouver’s eHub indicates that there are currently 51 vessel in port, of which 14 are at berth, and 37 (including 3 containerships) are at achor. As reported in CL 11546, the Port has implemented a suite of measures to manage arrivals and anchorage assignments, as per below:
- Inner Harbour: Maximum stay of 48-hours will be strictly enforced, and assignment will be limited to bunkering, fumigation, staging area, or emergency situations.
- English Bay and Indian Arm: The maximum stay limit of 7-days will be lifted. All anchorages will be reserved to support operations at terminals not affected by strike activity, partly loaded vessels that are delayed due to labour action, and larger vessels that can only be accommodated in English Bay.
- Southern Gulf Islands: These anchorages will be assigned per the Interim protocol for waiting vessels; a balanced use of these anchorages across the South Coast BC region and commodity sectors will be ensured.
Transport Canada’s operational working group took a pause from its daily meetings today, but will reconvene again tomorrow. The Chamber of Commerce will also be holding a call to provide an update on the status of negotiations and discuss upcoming advocacy efforts. We will be participating in both meetings and will revert with additional information tomorrow afternoon.