The Port Authority at Vancouver, British Columbia, is canvassing its options, including legal action, after Canadian National Railway switched its rail service to trucks for three of the port's four container terminals.
CN "unilaterally" withdrew rail service temporarily to the terminals July 13, without informing or discussing it with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, vice-president Chris Badger told the Journal of Commerce.
The Authority will monitor the effects until next week of the rail-to-trucks switch between CN's Vancouver Intermodal Terminal and the downtown terminals Centerm and Vanterm and Fraser Surrey Docks on the Fraser River and then “take whatever action is open to us," Badger said.
The Authority is looking at terms of contracts and whether there are negative effects on truck flow. “We are looking at all available options," including legal action, Badger said.
CN spokesman Mark Hallman said container supply to the dowtown terminals had dwindled and some steamship lines had moved their calls to Deltaport. CN still provides rail service to this fourth and largest box terminal.
Trucking rather than rail will "more efficiently serve the (three) terminals and improve transit times," Hallman said. "The terminal operators are fine with this."
Port Metro Vancouver is not so fine with it. Switching from rail to trucks can affect port and local traffic congestion, the environment, the community, and "marketability of our Gateway," Badger said.
"Whenever a stakeholder in the supply chain takes unilateral action, our job is to make sure that that action does not have a negative effect on the supply chain as a whole," he said.
Meanwhile, the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association is reporting delays and service failures at CN's Montreal intermodal terminal. CN vice-president Paul Waite said those problems are being corrected.
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