DELTA (NEWS1130) – Port Metro Vancouver says it’s open to expanding hours for truck traffic at Deltaport to help ease the gridlock you get stuck in around the Massey Tunnel.

It just has to work out a few logistical challenges first.

“Coordination of the various components of the supply chain need to work in tandem,” Vice President of Planning and Operations Peter Xotta tells News1130.

“Opening the marine terminal is one component.  Having trucking companies with the resources to work at night and other locations that need to receive containers are others, there is a whole manner of things that will need to be coordinated for their hours of work,” he explains.

Richmond city council is suggesting there will be fewer big rigs on Highway 99 during rush hour if Deltaport is open to trucks 24-7 instead of just during the day.

BC Trucking Association President Louise Yako calls the idea reasonable.

“I think increasing the hours of operation for marine container terminals is recognition of the fact that there are significant increases in the projected volumes of containers,” says Yako.

“To put it bluntly, we only have so much space to be able to deal with so many containers.  If the container volumes increase, we are going to have to move those containers through the terminals at a much faster pace than we are doing today,” Yako adds.

The province says the Massey Tunnel has 10 to 15 years of useful life left, but many municipal politicians say it should have been replaced years ago.

An expanded Deltaport and a proposed mega mall and housing projects in Tsawwassen are expected to make the traffic congestion even worse.

“We have certainly been very active in reviewing opportunities for minimizing the impact of truck traffic,” Xotta says.  “As recently as last week the Port introduced its truck strategy, a three year action plan that has a goal of improving efficiency reliability and sustainability of the local container supply chain.”

The plan includes a review of hours of operation and it also calls for an expansion of the port’s GPS program.

A thousand trucks are being outfitted with GPS units to help the port understand how it can keep impacts to the community to a minimum.