Local businesses feel the lingering effects of Port Metro strike
WATCH (above): Linda Aylesworth reports on the effects the truckers’ strike has had on local businesses
Container truck drivers are returning to work at Port Metro Vancouver and yet many businesses are still feeling the impact of the truckers’ prolonged strike. The dispute left millions of dollars worth of cargo stranded at Vancouver-area terminals; which still hasn’t moved.
Local businesses like Doi Chaang Coffee Company are feeling the effects of the port shutdown which has caused significant storage backlog.
“We have one container arriving today but the port won’t accept it because they are backlogged so that container has to be shipped for an extra $5,000 to Calgary,” said John Darch, Doi Chaang Coffee Company.
Arriving containers are one issue for the coffee company but there’s also a problem with the container that’s been stuck in the port since the strike began.
Darch said it contains 17 tons of green coffee beans, which was grown and harvested in Northern Thailand, and without those beans Doi Chaang has had nothing to roast for more than three weeks.
“We consume about 17 tons of coffee a month and that equates to about $300,000 worth of sales which we have lost for the month of March,” Darch said.
So far the strike has cost the company $60,000 in overhead. In addition to those expenses, the port is charging $275USD to $400USD a day for moorage and storage fees.
According to Darch, the port does not intend on waving or reimbursing those fees.
“If we want our container released from the port we are going to have to pay the $5,400 to have it released in order to get a product valued at about $36,000,” said Phil Klaassen, Pan Pacific Pet Limited.
“So do the math and that’s about 15 per cent higher just to get that container out of the port.”
To Klaassen, he sees this situation as something very lucrative for the port because “they’re making money while [the containers] are just sitting there.”
It’s a sentiment Darch echoes and in the end, he’d like to see the containers moved off the dock quicker as well as a reprieve from the storage fees.
“We had no choice but to leave the coffee there.”
~ with files from Linda Aylesworth