Peter Fassbender

THE  Province announced on Monday that it is supporting the province’s commercial trucking industry by constructing a new parking facility on Highway 17 under the Port Mann Bridge. The Province also plans to streamline the commercial truck permitting system and evaluate new technological improvements that could save commercial drivers time and money.

This facility in North Surrey is the second new truck parking facility announced for the Lower Mainland, as committed in B.C. on the Move, the Province’s 10-year transportation plan. A truck parking facility with capacity for up to 40 vehicles opened in fall 2016 on Highway 91 at Nordel Way in Delta.

Amrik Virk

The province has committed $17 million toward this $30-million project, and is seeking partnership funding from the federal government. The announcement was made by Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender and Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk, on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

“We are always looking at ways that we can help the commercial trucking industry carry out their business in a more cost-effective manner,” said Fassbender. “By constructing truck parking facilities such as this, and by streamlining permitting and adopting new technologies, we’re helping keep B.C.’s trucking industry operating safely and efficiently.”

“The commercial trucking industry quite literally keeps our economy moving,” said Virk. “This truck parking facility is one more way we are supporting the industry by providing a convenient location for drivers to park, and have a rest or undertake minor repairs.”

The new truck parking facility will be constructed on provincial land on the north side of Highway 17, below and just east of the Port Mann Bridge. Site preparation will get underway this summer, with completion anticipated by winter 2018. When opened, the facility will have room for up to 150 trucks. It will include washrooms and showers, fencing, lighting, and other security measures.

“The BC Trucking Association appreciates the provincial government taking a leadership role in creating a new truck parking facility, as well as the other improvements announced today,” said BC Trucking Association President and CEO Louise Yako. “These initiatives not only eliminate red tape and improve safety, but will help the industry to be more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, consumers will benefit because a more efficient trucking industry means cost-effective goods movement.”

The ministry is also committing to a number of other measures that will reduce red tape and improve industry efficiency. It is working to replace permit requirements for low-risk oversize and overweight commercial trucks with regulation, which could save the industry approximately $8 million a year in permitting fees. The ministry will consult with stakeholders prior to implementation this fall.

As well, the ministry will increase the maximum weight permitted on 10-axle container trucks, and examine new tire and axle technologies.

These changes build on the progress made over the last three years since implementing the 2014 Joint Action Plan, signed by the Port of Vancouver, the province and the federal government, to ensure the stability of container trucking operations at Lower Mainland ports.

Most recently, British Columbia has invested new money into the Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commission to increase their audit capacity and ensure that audits are completed more quickly. Audits to date have returned more than $1.7 million to drivers. In addition, the Commissioner is examining options to reform the Truck Tag system.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has also taken recent steps to improve the container trucking sector, including: flexible geo-fencing on the south shore of the port, similar to the geo-fencing already in place at Deltaport, to help address congestion and provide fair wait time fees for drivers; collection of over $600,000 in wait time fees from terminals, given to trucking companies for excessive wait times; and development of an expedited process to ensure timely future wait time payments.