By R. Bruce Striegler
Port Metro Vancouver is poised to grow as Asia-Pacific trade continues to play an increasingly important role in the Canadian economy. With road and rail enhancements underway and a stable workforce in place, the other important pillar to develop is ensuring an effective container drayage sector.
Last year, Port Metro Vancouver launched a stakeholder engagement process aimed at developing a broadly supported, long-term vision for the container drayage sector. This strategy will further enhance the Port’s global position as a sustainable and competitive supply chain leader.
“We launched an extensive consultation to update our strategy, involving outreach to hundreds of individual truck drivers through workshops and through the British Columbia Trucking Association,” explains Peter Xotta, Port Metro Vancouver’s Vice-President, Planning and Operations. The consultation will ensure that key industry stakeholders have a voice as the strategy is finalized, with the final version being announced later this year.
A major theme already emerging from the consultation is the need for increased collaboration, accountability and long-term sustainability. The multi-faceted supply chain, with its many private sector participants, is in critical need of a framework for collaboration. “This will open new lines of communication and help individuals in the supply chain recognize that they are accountable to one another,” says Xotta. “With the seasonal effect in the container business and competition from other Ports, we need to ensure that the drayage sector is operating at maximum efficiency.”
Newly formed Container Drayage Leadership Team
As part of the focus on container-trucking supply-chain improvements, the Port and industry partners announced the formation of a leadership group in the container drayage sector in July. This group is working to improve productivity and performance through the Vancouver Gateway as well as to improve truck turn times.
The Container Drayage Leadership Team, which along with Port Metro Vancouver, includes container terminal operators TSI Terminal Systems Inc., DP World and Fraser Surrey Docks as well as Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, British Columbia Trucking Association and Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition. “Through the creation of this important leadership team, we have established a framework for dialogue with key sector participants who needed to be engaged on an on-going basis. The team is critical to improving how the drayage sector is interacting with the marine terminals,” said Xotta. “This team marks a new beginning. By working collaboratively, we will see outcomes that benefit everyone,” he said. The initiative has received widespread support and praise from the trucking industry, terminal operators and from government.
Import Vessel Forecast Project provides new cargo forecasts
Working closely with Transport Canada’s Economic Analysis Group, the Port is developing a system to provide Port users with a 10- to 14-day view of container volumes bound for the Vancouver Gateway. The extended forecast will improve operational planning and reliability for all involved in moving container cargo. The data can also be shared with the Pilotage Authorities, tug operators and labour. The Port’s goal is to create seamless service delivery by striving to improve planning and preparation and addressing issues before they arise. “Our goal is to get better and better at planning for, preparing for and responding to issues so the users of the Port see a very seamless service delivery,” says Xotta, Vice-President, Planning and Operations, Port Metro Vancouver.