Reliability, Predictability & Productivity

Play Video Andy Smith - President & Chief Executive Officer
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Who We Are

The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) is the multi-employer waterfront organization, representing approximately 65 ship owners and agents, stevedores, container, bulk and break bulk terminal operators on Canada's west coast, extending from Victoria north to the Alaska border.

A key objective of the BCMEA is to meet the needs of its membership. The BCMEA is dedicated to understanding and being responsive to the shared needs of its members and to the unique circumstances each BCMEA member may have. With this commitment to customer service, the BCMEA provides information, expertise and systems that improve the operational effectiveness of BCMEA members.

At its core, the BCMEA is a service provider of labour relations for the waterfront employers in British Columbia, representing employer interests on regulatory issues in the areas of labour relations, pensions, legislative reform, Canada Labour Code, health and safety, human rights and employment equity.

In addition to labour relations activities, the BCMEA oversees the training and recruitment of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canadian Area and the daily dispatch of labour for the Vancouver local of the Union.

In the spring of 2011, we reached an historic 8 year agreement with the ILWU, ensuring the reliability of the Asia-Pacific Gateway.  The BCMEA is very pleased that the ILWU has joined the industry to drive this kind of reliability.

A positive relationship with the ILWU is essential to the success of this commitment. With that in mind, the BCMEA works cooperatively with representatives of various union locals and the Canadian Area, ensuring that a sufficient and qualified workforce is available to meet the needs of BCMEA members. In the spring of 2011, we reached an historic 8-year agreement with the ILWU, ensuring the reliability of the Asia-Pacific gateway. The BCMEA is very pleased that the ILWU has joined the industry to drive this kind of reliability.

Most importantly, together with the BCMEA member organizations, the BCMEA is committed to building Canada's economic future by working with members and stakeholders to ensure cost effective, reliable services that permit a smooth flow of goods and commerce.

Where We Are

With the appointment of a new CEO in 2007, the BCMEA began taking steps to change its organizational culture. The first step in this reorganization was the realization that BCMEA members are not just members; they are the customers of the BCMEA. The notion of 'customer-members' was born out of this realization and has become the focus of the Association's initiatives.

The new BCMEA has refocused its resources with a customer-centric emphasis. Internal structures have also changed to coincide with the new direction: in 2008, a vice president of marketing was named to reinforce the new mandate and make the BCMEA more responsive to customer-members needs.

Once highly centralized, the new BCMEA has adopted a distributive model of management. Under the new BCMEA, staff members are "where the action is". Association staff in the labour relations and training departments has office and work areas located at the terminals. Working side-by-side with customer-members, staff supports the efficiency of ship and dock operations and reinforces the Association's accountability to its customer-members.

In keeping with the customer-centric approach, shipping lines and agencies are being asked to participate more fully in the BCMEA with other stakeholders. Their views regarding labour reliability, predictability and productivity are critical for BCMEA governance and in guiding the Association in the execution of effective measures.

Where We're Going

Demand from customers in the Pacific Rim has meant robust growth in every sector - containers, break bulk, bulk and general cargo. To meet increased cargo volumes, the BCMEA will continue to do its part to provide a skilled and reliable workforce.

The Asia-Pacific gateway contributes $12 billion dollars to Canada's Gross Domestic Product, generating 130,000 direct and indirect jobs.  In British Columbia alone, the Asia-Pacific gateway generates 47,000 direct jobs.

Canada's west coast ports are an integral part of the Pacific Gateway Strategy, forming a vital supply chain that links Canada to the rest of the world. British Columbia's ports handle over $53 billion worth of goods annually with more than 100 trading economies. The Asia-Pacific gateway contributes $12 billion dollars to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product, generating 130,000 direct and indirect jobs. In British Columbia alone, the Asia-Pacific gateway generates 47,000 direct jobs. With that in mind, the BCMEA fully supports the commitment made by BC ports and customer-members to provide quality service, capacity and infrastructure, and is committed to the success of the Gateway Program.

Together, with industry stakeholders, the BCMEA will work to make British Columbia's ports globally competitive, to deliver predictability, reliability and certainty for stakeholders and continued economic benefits for those who depend on Canada's west coast transportation supply chain.

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