B.C. cancels licence of trucking company involved in overpass strikes

Click to play video: 'B.C. government pulls operating licence of trucking company after multiple infractions'
B.C. government pulls operating licence of trucking company after multiple infractions
WATCH: Chohan Freight Forwarders Limited had been under suspension since December when the sixth overpass was hit by one of its trucks. As Richard Zussman reports, the company will challenge the decision to cancel their licence. – Feb 16, 2024

A B.C. trucking company that has been involved in multiple highway overpass strikes has had its operating licence cancelled.

B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said the notice of cancellation was issued to Chohan Freight Forwarders on Thursday.

“This is the most severe action that can be taken against a company with multiple infractions and it sends a clear message to operators that infrastructure crashes around our province need to stop,” he said in a statement.

“It has never been easier to follow a route to guide a load safely through our highway system and avoid the potential for impact with infrastructure.”

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B.C. premier strikes back at embattled trucking company

The company’s fleet was grounded in December, after one of Chohan’s trucks was involved in an overpass strike — the company’s sixth strike in two years.

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Chohan Freight Forwarders responded to Global News regarding the cancellation Friday morning.

“We fundamentally disagree with the action taken by the government of British Columbia. We will continue to take steps to challenge this action on behalf of our drivers and their families,” a spokesperson said in an email.

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“To date we have cooperated fully with the Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement as a part of their investigation and will continue to take steps to ensure that our internal safety protocols are as robust as possible. At no point has the government suggested those protocols were inadequate or that they led to the incident on December 28, or explained what they say Chohan Freight Forwarders ought to have done differently that day.”

Chohan said last week it is suing the B.C. government to get its fleet back on the road.

B.C. Premier David Eby addressed the company’s the lawsuit in remarks to reporters on Wednesday.

“British Columbians, especially in the Lower Mainland, have been astonished and frustrated by the number of overpass strikes,” Eby said at a press conference.

“And one of the worst offenders has been this company, Chohan.

“The astonishing part is that the company thinks that they should be still able to operate, and they’re going to court, to challenge our prohibition on their operating until they figure out how high bridges are and how high their trucks are.

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“My only hope is that on the way to court, they don’t run into a bridge. (I) encourage them to take the bus or some other form of public transit on the way to the courthouse.”

Click to play video: 'Trucking company sues to overturn suspension'
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B.C.-based Chohan Freight Forwarders Ltd. and Alberta-based Chohan Group Ltd. said in B.C. Supreme Court petitions that they’re separate legal entities but have a family connection.

They said they have lost millions of dollars since their vehicles were pulled from the road.

“As a result of the suspension, the petitioner’s 63 drivers and affiliated owner-operators, many of whom are the sole income for their families, became unable to work and suffered (and continue to suffer) corresponding economic hardship,” states the court filing made by the B.C. company, Chohan Freight Forwarders.

The company said it has also lost clients and contracts, including reputational harm.

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In a statement, Nitasha Chohan, the director of compliance and safety for Chohan Freight Forwarders, said the company is “reluctantly taking legal action against the Government of British Columbia so that our drivers can safely get back onto the road and provide for their families.

“The overpass incident on December 28th, 2023, involved an independent owner-operator who acted contrary to explicit directions from the Company as well as in disregard of the Company’s safety policies. Every single measure within Chohan’s Safety Action Plan was followed. We have cooperated with the Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement as a part of their investigation and updated our internal policies in order to ensure they are as robust as possible.”

Click to play video: 'Suspended B.C. trucking company denies suggestions its trucks are still on the road'
Suspended B.C. trucking company denies suggestions its trucks are still on the road

— with files from Amy Judd, Kristen Robinson

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