Recommendations to help improve trucking operations at Port Metro Vancouver

Vincent L. Ready
Labour Arbitration and Mediation Services Ltd.

File: 32961 

May 20, 2014

Director General
Transport Canada
800 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2J8  

Attn: Mike Henderson

Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy
Transport Canada
330 Sparks Street, 27th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5

Attn: Scott Streiner


Dear Sirs:

Under point 14 of the Joint Action Plan (“JAP”) we have been directed to recommend:

 

  1. A method for determining how payments are to be made to owner operators for wait times established under the 15 point JAP dated March 26, 2014.

  2. A method for payment of wait times for owner operators who do not have a port GPS system in their rigs, retroactive to the effective date of the JAP.

  3. Which organization, company or entity is responsible for the payment referred to above in #1 and #2.

  4. A mechanism to ensure that wait time payments, including the retroactive payments, are paid to the affected drivers while the GPS systems are being installed.

In Association with Judi Korbin and Ronald S. Keras
#203 – 1275 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6H 1A6
Telephone:  604 691-2554 Fax:  604 691-2556

vready@telus.net  www.adrweb.ca/vince-ready
 

  1. Additionally, we have been requested under our mandate in #14 of the JAP to review and provide clarification of the wait time formulas and, where necessary, recommend modification of the JAP as to where wait times should start and how they are to be measured, or any other options we deem appropriate. Further, in formulating our recommendations we have been urged to do so, in a manner which allows for double ended moves within the terminals. With respect to item 5, we will require further study and consultation with stakeholders which may require us receiving written and oral submissions from interested parties following which we would provide our recommendations.

  2. Although not part of the JAP, there has been an expression of interest by a number of parties in the drayage industry for the introduction of  hourly rates to be paid to owner operators instead of trip rates. More specifically, we have been asked to explore the utility and efficiency of hourly rates. This will require a comprehensive review. Therefore we will be requesting further submissions from affected stakeholders as well as the economic data and analysis necessary to make informed recommendations. In particular, we will need sufficient information as  to how to establish an appropriate industry hourly rate for owner operators.

Recommendations

Many of above issues are complex and require careful thought and analysis. We make the recommendations acknowledging that some of the commitments made will have to be implemented in the shadow of Marine Act requirements and law suits. That said, it is our view that immediate action must be taken with respect to wait times. To date, drivers have not been compensated for wait times and in our opinion, it is necessary to provide recommendations to assist in facilitating such compensation.

Point number 12 of the JAP reads:

  1. Port Metro Vancouver will establish a mechanism for directing the Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee (i.e. Waiting Time Fee) to be paid to the trucking companies who will be required to pass the fee on to independent owner operators. Starting seven (7) days after a return to work, the Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee (i.e. Waiting Time Fee) shall be paid at $50 per trip for time spent waiting at Port terminals (Deltaport, Fraser Surrey Docks, Vanterm, Centerm) after ninety minutes of waiting time. At two hours of waiting time, an additional $25 fee will be paid per trip. At two and half hours of waiting time, an additional $25 fee will be paid per trip. Each additional half hour will be paid at a rate of $20. This waiting time shall begin to accrue from the designated points outlined below.
    1. Vanterm/Centerm – Waiting time shall be measured from the time of entrance to the time of exit from the Clark, McGill and the vehicle access control gate at Heatley entrances.

    2. Deltaport – A mechanism will be developed to identify time of entrance and exit to and from the terminal, and this will be measured at the last (current) overpass on the approach to Deltaport Way.

    3. Fraser Surrey Docks – Waiting time shall be calculated from the time of entrance to the time of exit from the entrance off of Elevator Road and Highway 17.

    4. The following two locations would require further analysis/discussion to clarify mechanics:

      1. CN Intermodal (Port Kells) – Waiting time shall be calculated from the time of entrance to the time of exit from the entrance off of 96 avenue and Highway 17.

      2. CP Intermodal (Pitt Meadows) – Waiting time shall be calculated from the time of entrance to the time of exit from the entrance to CP’s yard.

There was a commitment in the Joint Action Plan that the PMV would “…establish a mechanism for directing the Terminal Gate Efficient Fee (i.e. Waiting Time Fee) to be paid to the trucking companies who will be required to pass the fee on to independent owner operators.”  We have heard the frustration expressed by representatives of the truck drivers as well as representatives on the Steering Committee that the mechanism, which was to be a manual mechanism initially and, ultimately an electronic (GPS) system, is not yet implemented. We acknowledge that PMV has worked hard to expedite the GPS program and we understand that it is PMV’s intention to have all trucks fitted with electronic monitoring devices in early July, 2014. That said, it is clear to us that as each day passes without a mechanism for tracking wait times, the issue respecting how to gather, enforce and pay the wait times for those trucks which do not have GPS devices becomes more and more complex.

Our recommendations on items 1, 2, 3 and 4 above are as follows:

  1. That PMV establish a manual mechanism for tracking wait times before the start of the day on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 in order to start tracking the per trip driver wait times accurately. We recommend that the manual mechanism remain in place until the GPS system is fully operational and all trucks are fitted with the electronic monitoring devices.

  2. That for the period from April 3rd – May 27th, owner operators and company drivers paid on a per trip basis (together referenced as “per trip drivers”) that have the GPS installed in the truck are paid for all wait times according to the JAP (in terms of location, time and fee schedule). In order to facilitate this payment, we recommend that PMV invoice the terminals for those amounts immediately (prior to May 31, 2014) and that the terminals provide funds to the per trip drivers prior to Monday, June 16, 2014.

    We recommend that the terminals provide such funds to the per trip drivers through the trucking companies prior to this date and that the trucking companies pay the entire amount provided by the terminals to the per trip drivers with GPS upon receipt of such funds from the terminals. We recommend this course of action on the condition and understanding that any payment made by the terminals to the GPS per trip drivers pursuant to the JAP will not prejudice or impact the judicial review application and that PMV cannot rely on these payments as part of the judicial review process.

  3. That for the period from April 3rd – May 27th, owner operators and per trip company drivers (again, together referenced at “per trip drivers”) that do not have GPS data are asked to provide interchange as well as other supporting documentation (such as per trip driver log books or personal electronic data) through a process to be decided upon and announced by PMV on or before Monday, May 26, 2014. We recommend that PMV announce that the data is to be submitted through this centralized process no later than Friday, June 13, 2014 at 5pm. This manual data will then be analyzed by PMV and cross referenced to the GPS data known by PMV to determine waiting time fees owing. It is recommended that given that a manual mechanism was not established in the time period directed, that the analysis of the data will be based on the available driver and port data on any given date and that minor discrepancies shall be resolved by way of the honour system and reasonable fees paid to the per trip truck drivers.

    Further, given that it was the responsibility of PMV to establish this mechanism within seven days of the JAP and no such mechanism has been established to date, we recommend that PMV pay the waiting time fees for the per trip drivers that do not have GPS data during this period to avoid any confusion or debate between PMV and the terminals. Again, for this period, we recommend that PMV pay for waiting times are paid in accordance with the JAP (in terms of location, time and fee schedule). We strongly suggest that PMV provide payment to the trucking companies prior to Friday, June 27, 2014 and that the trucking companies pay the entire amount provided by PMV to the per trip drivers without GPS upon receipt of such funds.

    We recommend this course of action on the condition and understanding that any payment made by PMV to the non-GPS per trip drivers pursuant to the JAP will not prejudice or impact the judicial review application and that the terminals cannot rely on these payments by PMV as part of the judicial review process.

  4. For the period beyond Wednesday, May 28th, if PMV establishes a manual tracking system, we recommend that PMV invoice the terminals on the waiting time with either GPS or PMV manual information for per trip drivers. For this period, and until submissions respecting wait times can be obtained and analyzed, we recommend that wait times relating to: (i)double ended moves; and, (ii) events beyond the control of the terminals (weather related events, power interruptions, and terminal operating system outages) be exempt from the wait time calculations. For greater clarity, and acknowledging that double ended moves are universally accepted as a necessary component of an efficient drayage sector, we recommend that these two exemptions be implemented as of May 28, 2014 for the short term until we have the opportunity to receive and consider submissions from stakeholders on the complex issue of wait times generally and on alternate arrangements respecting double ended moves and/or events beyond the control of the terminals

    For the period beyond May 28th, we recommend that per trip drivers be otherwise compensated for wait times according to the JAP (in terms of location, time and fee schedule). If PMV does not establish a manual tracking system on or before May 28th, we recommend PMV continue to submit invoices to the terminals for GPS installed trucks and the terminals pay the invoiced wait times and PMV pay for all non-GPS installed trucks.

    Again, the monies should be submitted by the terminals and/or PMV to the trucking companies for direct payment to per trip drivers without prejudice to the judicial review application. No amounts of the waiting time fees should be kept by any organization or company for any reason.

  5. Any non-payment of the waiting time fee to per trip drivers pursuant to these recommendations will not be tolerated. The per trip drivers should be advised that any failure to pay in accordance with the terms above can be reported via the Whistleblower Policy (draft currently in progress). We also recommend that the Province of British Columbia verify through the current audit program that the above wait time fee payments are processed and paid. It is our opinion that non-compliance should be met with serious repercussions, including penalties and/or license suspensions.

Yours truly,

 

Vincent L. Ready

Corinn Bell

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