Protestors turned out at the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) port in Portsmouth on Tuesday, and they were mad.
About 100 truckers chanted “our time matters” and “no more free time” as they voiced their concerns about how the port is treating truckers.
10 On Your Side reported Monday that truckers who do business at the port were upset at how long it was taking to get service picking up containers at VIG.
They told members of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners about wait times of up to five hours.
Truck driver Leo Cappuccio told the board: “The trucking community is not happy. This is the least desirable pier for the truckers to come into. We hate VIG. We really do. It takes a man 2-5 hours to get out of this pier. We don’t get paid by the hour. We get paid for production.”
Reinhart says he understands the problems of congestion, construction, equipment breaking down and an exhausted workforce, but also says the $320 million of improvements at VIG will make it better for truckers in the future.
“We have been investing millions and millions of dollar each month to mitigate that pain while we go through the construction,” said John Reinhart, CEO of the Port Authority after the meeting. “It is not lost on us.”
New Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine attended her first Board of Commissioners meeting. She understands there is sometimes pain in progress
“Going through this time right now, there will be congestion issues, it is all in an effort to make an effort to expand the capacity of the port,” Valentine said.
During the protest out front of VIG, truck drivers honked their loud horns in support of the workers on the line.
“They know our time matters. We will not sit in their port. We will not tolerate this any longer,” says George Berry through a bullhorn. He founded “For Truckers By Truckers,” an advocacy group for truckers’ rights.
Truck driver John Andersen chanted, “our time matters. Our time matters.” For truckers it’s about the waste of time getting containers.
Andersen is an outspoken port critic.
“We have cranes that keep breaking down. They want to talk about automation, this is the same system at NIT and it is flawed,” Andersen said. “When a computer goes down, they move no boxes. We sit there all that time. We are idle and losing revenue.”
Berry led a delegation of truckers speaking at the Virginia Port Authority Commissioners meeting.
“We need resolutions today,” Berry said. “We are thankful for the innovation that is being created for the future, but we need results right now.”
Reginald Porter called out Reinhart for something he told 10 On Your Side on Monday.
“If a truck has been on the facility for two hours, we try to go to talk to that motor carrier,” Reinhart told 10 On Your Side in Monday’s report.
Porter stood up at the meeting, looked at Reinhart and said, “I watched your interview last night. I have never had anybody come to me after I’ve been here for two hours to ask me anything.”