On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union served official notice to GCT Global Container Terminals Canada that its members will begin striking effective 7 a.m. on Monday, May 27. The parties will continue to negotiate in the interim with the goal of averting a strike.
Should the labor action occur, it will specifically affect the GCT Deltaport and GCT Vanterm terminals, which process the bulk of inbound cargo at the Port of Vancouver. The labor action also has the potential to have a spillover effect on neighboring terminals.
Significant disruption of cargo processing is expected as a result of this action.
Cargo on vessels docking at the port may not be offloaded. In addition, there is the potential the labor action could obstruct or delay the transfer of already landed cargo onto ground transport vessels. Finally, in some instances, ground carriers may refuse to enter the cargo processing area either due to safety concerns or to demonstrate solidarity with striking workers. Shippers are encouraged to contact their ground-transport carriers to determine their capacity to pick up cargo at the affected terminals prior to the carrier’s departure.
In the event of a prolonged strike and a resulting backlog, steamship carriers may be forced to divert cargo to neighboring ports, including ports in the United States. Should this occur, importers will need to ensure they have completed and submitted an Import Security Filing (ISF) form to U.S. customs authorities in advance of their cargo’s arrival at the U.S. port. Failure to submit an ISF form will result in cargo not being processed at the U.S. port.