TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Trucking Association says there is no reason why the issues that lead to a dispute between aggregate haulers and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation can’t be resolved quickly.
Aggregate haulers had overtaken the Trafalgar South Inspection Station in late April to protest overloading by customers and overzealous ticketing by MTO enforcement officers.
The MTO has since temporarily suspended enforcement of provincial axle weight standards for certain SPIF (Safe, Productive and Infrastructure Friendly) vehicles in the aggregate hauling sector.
“The optics of the whole situation at the weigh scale and the announcement of a moratorium will not sit well with a lot of people in the industry, there does appear to be isolated technical issues regarding certain SPIF configurations in the aggregate sector that MTO, working with the industry, should be able to resolve quickly; at least that is what we will be pushing for,” says OTA president David Bradley.
“There does not appear to be any reason for a revision of the SPIF standards or a delay in their implementation. These have been fully vetted over the past 10 years and carriers in all sectors have made millions of dollars in investment to meet the deadlines and to become compliant. Instead, it looks like this is a matter of interpretation and some cases where people in the aggregate sector bought what they thought were SPIF compliant vehicles only to encounter problems when they got to the scales. Under the circumstances a short moratorium is an appropriate response although the way it came about makes everyone uncomfortable. It’s certainly not how we do business and there was no reason to resort to these tactics this time.”
Bradley says that OTA will participate in the meetings to resolve the matter. He said that in addition to the technical issues relating to SPIF, OTA will again be calling upon MTO to start enforcing the laws already on the books regarding shipper liability for axle overloads.
“OTA was successful in getting all party approval for the axle weight law back in the early 1990’s,” he said. “Since that time it has rarely been used. It’s time to start doing so. If the law needs to be amended, then amend it, but shippers have been getting a free-ride for too long and have to start bearing more of the responsibility for proper vehicle loading – which they control.”
The OTA is carriers outside of the aggregate community that have had enforcement issues related to SPIF equipment to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.