Shipments through Vancouver, Canada
's busiest port, came to an almost complete halt as employers imposed a lockout on unionized longshore workers in a bid to force an end to a contract dispute.
No talks are scheduled between the British Columbia Marine Employers Association and the unionized workers at the port of Vancouver
, and federal officials have said the government has no immediate plans to force a settlement.
The previous labor contract between employers and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union of Canada expired
in 1998, and the two sides are at odds over several issues including wages and the use of non-union labor.
The lockout has stopped the loading and unloading of all goods except bulk grains exports and some coal destined for Japan and effects nearly $61.2 million per day in shipments, according to a port official.
The employers said they had been forced to impose a lockout to bring an end to the dispute, because ships began diverting to U.S. ports after Oct. 20, when the union was in a legal position to call a strike.