According to Smolik, all Canadian ports work on a ‘just in time delivery’ timeline. This means that any vessel carrying shipments has to be loaded by a certain time or fines will be issued. This is to limit countries importing Canadian goods from having to experience any delays.
A saving grace for the Wheat Growers Association of Western Canada is that B.C.’s ports aren’t closed because of the strike. There are still workers loading ships, however, they’re taking longer to load everything due to less help.
“We’re confident that’s going to protect us to some degree,” Smolik said.
The B.C. ports don’t export all goods from western Canada, however, they do oversee the vast majority. Some are transported to the U.S. and out east.
The Coalition of Rail Shippers, which the Wheat Growers Association of Western Canada is part of, have sent a letter to the federal government outlining its concerns with the strike.
It was specifically sent to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Seamus O’Regan, the Minister of Labour.
“If this strike continues, I’m sure further letters will be sent to the federal government,” Smolik added.
Meanwhile, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, which is negotiating on behalf of the port workers, claims labour talks have hit a standstill.
In a statement sent on Monday, they didn’t think more bargaining was going to produce a deal. They also noted the BC Maritime Employers Association changed its position on a key issue at the last minute to ‘muddy the waters.’
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