BC Wharf Association president  Brad Eshelman speaks about the importance of keeping the HST to port operators.

BC Wharf Association president Brad Eshelman speaks about the importance of keeping the HST to port operators.

Port operators speak of importance of HST to competitive advantage

Representatives from British Columbia’s shipping, transportation and logistics industries, including BC Wharf Association president Brad Eshelman, came together on Thursday at Vanterm Terminal in Port Metro Vancouver, to speak in support of the HST.

Representatives from British Columbia’s shipping, transportation and logistics industries, including BC Wharf Association president  Brad Eshelman, came together late last week at Vanterm Terminal in Port Metro Vancouver to speak in support of the HST.

According to Eshelman and representatives from Container World and Terminal Systems Inc., a vote to scrap the HST would only hurt Canada’s import and export businesses.

“The HST does two things. First it makes us more competitive on an operational basis by lowering our costs and that allows us to offer lower commodity handling rates. The other, bigger issue is capital investment and investment to create new capacity,” he said.

“Under the PST we would be paying seven per cent on capital investments, where with the HST we don’t have that extra seven per cent which makes it more attractive. A lot of the companies we deal with in our industry are global, so we’re competing with other countries, so anything that can make us more competitive is great.”

Eshelman says that since the HST came in his company, Western Stevedoring, has used the savings its realized to invest in new, more environmentally friendly trucks and that there has been 50 new jobs as other industries see the advantage of the HST.

“The more competitive the mining and forest industry can be on the world market, and eliminating the PST helps them reduce their cost, the more it allows us to ship and invest,” he said, noting that having lower rates is key to benefitting from the Asian markets.

“If we can be more competitive we can get more of the Chinese market, because they are extremely price sensitive and driven…Jobs that support thousands of B.C. families are at stake. The cost of going back is too great – people need to Vote ‘NO’.”