‘We are essential users’: B.C. truckers react to a 56 per cent rate increase for commercial on BC Ferries

'We are essential users': B.C. truckers react to a 56 per cent rate increase for commercial on BC Ferries
Skye Ryan/CHEK News

Commercial truckers are fuming at BC Ferries after learning rates for oversized loads would go up 56 per cent this spring.

According to truckers, the increase has come out of the blue in a pandemic that’s already created difficulties.

After 14 months of keeping the wheels turning through this pandemic and getting essential goods to those who need them, commercial truck drivers are wondering why the rates are increasing for oversized loads.

“Now if we’re oversized it’s a 56 per cent increase. I don’t know, I asked how this is possible and I have yet to receive an explanation on how this is even allowable,” said Kendra Slawson, in charge of Penta Transport’s logistics.

Rate increases on BC Ferries’ entire fleet rose an average of 2.3 per cent in 2021, so when commercial truckers got their new fee schedule for oversized loads over nine feet wide, they were shocked.

“We are essential users, we’re moving essential goods, we’re building infrastructure and now they’re raping our pockets,” said Slawson.

Oversized loads bring everything from bridges and culverts for road building, to heavy equipment and house kits that will be shipping in big numbers this summer.

“So here we go adding extra costs that we’ve already quoted these customers that now they have to forward to probably the homeowner,” said Slawson.

“It’s a very difficult market. It can cost people their businesses at this rate,” said Cheryl Zmaeff, Controller at Penta Transport.

A statement from BC Ferries shows the organization appearing to take a step back.

“BC Ferries is currently consulting with the commercial trucking industry on rates and solutions to deck space consumption,” said Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries Executive Director of Public Relation in a written statement to CHEK News. “The consultation will continue through the summer.”

That was a surprise to Slawson, who has been fighting the increase for weeks, however, it’s a welcome surprise and she hopes it will keep business rolling through this pandemic.

READ MORE: ‘Handful’ of non-essential travellers denied boarding this past weekend: BC Ferries

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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