Services « BC Maritime Employers Association




It takes more than ships to do the shipping.

For as long as there have been goods to ship, there has been the need for men and women to help ship them.  And while the size and complexity of vessels may have changed over the years, there’s one truth that remains the same—without longshore workers, cargo doesn’t go anywhere.

Containers don’t move themselves.

It’s been said that 99% of the world’s products come from ships. That’s why the shipping industry is the single most vital link in the supply chain. The waterfront itself is a complex, fast-moving place, with sophisticated machinery and technology which demands a highly trained workforce to keep it running smoothly.

We supply a trained, skilled and reliable workforce to a dynamic, vital industry, helping ship owners and agents, stevedores and terminal owners move cargo to and from the waterfront. Every hour of every day, we’re at work at every port in BC. In every kind of weather, on every kind of vessel. Lumber. Coal. Grain. Potash. Not to mention containers which deliver the latest smartphone, must-have fashion item or electric car. We even work with cruise ships.

There are 8,500+ longshore workers in BC. They all need to be trained, and they all want to find work. And that’s where the BCMEA comes in.

Health & Safety

A safe and healthy workforce is a productive workforce. We promote awareness of health and safety in all aspects of waterfront work.

With an improved focus on safety at the terminal level over the past year, the industry has continued to improve its safety record, with the accident frequency rate reaching 4.2 lost time injuries per 200,000 hours, very near the targeted rate of 4.0.

We are continuously working to reduce the onsite accident rate via hazard prevention programs, as well as training and disability management. Our Training, Safety & Recruitment team has made significant progress through several recent initiatives, including constructing a new lashing training station at the Waterfront Training Centre (WTC), increasing log safety training, assisting terminals with hazard prevention programs and implementing additional labour training and disability management programs.

We also promote employee health and safety via programs like glove distribution and the Fit For Work initiative. In addition, the BCMEA acts as liaison between our customer-members and health and safety regulatory agencies and we provide input on our members’ behalf regarding related legislative or regulatory changes.

Everything our Training, Safety & Recruitment team does revolves around one clear principle:  better training means a safer workplace.


Jobs on the waterfront change on a daily basis. We make sure the right people arrive on the job site at the right time.

The BCMEA dispatch office matches available labour with employers’ needs, sending up to 400 workers out to fill 28 jobs in less than 30 minutes each shift. With three shifts a day, that means we dispatch up to 1,200 workers a day every day of the year.

The dispatch process works for everyone. Employers get the flexibility to only fill the labour needs of each individual shift. And workers are informed about opportunities by way of an automated call-out. Positions are filled quickly and employers know within seconds who to expect on the job site.

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Labour Relations

Combined, the BCMEA’s member companies share a workforce of more than 8,500 men and women, working in more than 30 different job categories. Employer-employee relations are covered by two coast-wide Collective Agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Our customer members have a variety of business models with distinct commercial requirements that drive varying labour needs.  They operate in five (5) ports and numerous communities up and down the BC coast where we provide individualized labour relations support, 24/7.

The BCMEA’s Labour Relations team assists or takes the lead on everything from contract administration and interpretation, safety and training, implementing new operations, managing human rights files, to dispute resolution and contract negotiations.  In all we do, our goal is to understand the needs of the BCMEA’s customer members and to provide practical solutions that advance their strategic interests in the ever increasingly competitive world of international trade.

Training, Safety & Recruitment

Working on the waterfront is both a demanding and rewarding career. That’s why we’re committed to giving every longshore worker the opportunity to reach their full potential, through on-going training and development programs, and by making safety our top priority in every part of our business.

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Information Systems

BCMEA’s Information Services department develops and supports a variety of custom systems aimed at aiding our members in their day-to-day operations. By providing real-time data as well as analysis of labour supply vs. demand, labour costs, modelling of labour pools, and other business related data, we provide our partners with on-going information that lets them make solid, informed decisions.

As our members continue to introduce new technology in their operations, Information Services is committed to ensuring that the right infrastructure and systems are in place to ensure that we are aligned with their needs, and that there is a balanced exchange of technological reliance.

One of our core priorities is the efficiency of the Vancouver Dispatch Centre longshore labour hiring hall. Every day, almost 2,000 longshore workers with different skill sets and ratings are looking to fill one of up to 1,200 job requirements of different types, spread over 3 shifts.

Within 30 minutes, 3 times a day, the Dispatch Centre matches the job requirements to available labour–an ability that is only possible through the advanced technology and systems we have developed.

From network design to custom applications and front-line support from our customer care team, Information Services draws on the best technology and talent available to ensure that our systems are the best in efficiency, security and reliability.






Information Services

Government & Public Affairs

Human Resources

Labour Relations

Training, Safety & Recruitment