Truck News


APTA: Good prognosis for the long haul

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. - Although the economy is not performing in unison across Canada, there are some regions that are dealing with similar issues.

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Although the economy is not performing in unison across Canada, there are some regions that are dealing with similar issues.

David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), commented on the state of the trucking industry at the Annual Convention and Management Meeting of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) held from Oct. 24 to 27 in St. John’s, Nfld.

“There are changes in the Canadian economies, as all regions are being affected differently,” said Bradley. “You guys are being affected more like in Central Canada, rather than in Western Canada.”

Bradley predicted there might be more carriers from Ontario entering the eastern market looking for backhauls, which will make it challenging for eastern-based carriers.

The increased competition could result in some carriers being unable to continue operation; but despite the negative situation, Bradley is positive about the overall state of the industry.

“Despite all of that, I remain bullish on this industry,” he explained. “Trucks will not go away and at the end of the day, nobody provides the service trucks do; so they’re not going to be replaced.”

Another area of ongoing concern is a driver shortage in the trucking industry, which Bradley predicted would get worse during the next five years. Not only will there be fewer available people, but also there will be fewer available qualified people.

“The industry over the last five to 10 years has improved on the whole and has become more sophisticated,” noted Bradley.

“Which means the good companies will be able to weather the storm and good days ahead. I believe in the ability of the industry to right its ship and turn things around.”

“The dollar has hit new highs and rates have hit new lows, so we’ll have to figure out how to navigate through that,” added Mark Seymour, chairman of the Ontario Trucking Association.

Border bound

In the spring of 2008, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) plans to move further into the information age with its E-Manifest program, which is a sister program of Automated Commercial Enforcement (ACE).

“Using this system, carriers will transfer all information electronically regarding crew, cargo, the driver,” explained Michael Carter, senior trade compliance officer with CBSA. “You will spend less time at the border and it will provide speedier service. It gives the CBSA time to determine what needs to be searched and what doesn’t, so when you show up it is already determined and there’s less wait.”

Carter candidly explained the agency is working on a rollout in the spring because they are facing some challenges, which he explained, meant it’s not working.

“We’re having some problems with the Web portal right now, but it’s a very high priority in the agency,” he added. “We’re working in partnership with the US and Mexico, for the seamless movement of goods.”

The CBSA is also working on developing another essential border initiative – the Partners in Protection (PIP) program.

Although the program has been around for about 15 years, there are some changes planned in the near future to strengthen the program.

The program was initiated to prevent terrorism, smuggling and other criminal activity. The outline of the program was used as a cornerstone for a number of other cross-border security programs, and the three keys its success are: security, awareness and exchange of information.

“It is a voluntary program and will remain voluntary, but we’re looking to gain recognition in the US by 2008,” Carter explained.

The PIP program has gained in popularity during the past five years, with its membership growing from 18 members to 2,200. But Carter noted that by bolstering the program, they are not just looking to increase the numbers.

“One of the main changes will be minimum security requirements,” he said. “Also the approval process is in Ottawa right now, but will be moved to on-site assessment.”

PIP will also see the introduction of a denial process and a removal process from the program for carriers not living up to the requirements. As well, the number of security categories will be increasing from just a couple to eight.

PIP will be a requirement for all FAST memberships, and under the new changes to the program no members will be grandfathered into the new system.

“In the future, maybe there will be just one security program to deal with, but we’re not there yet,” added Carter.

Honourable members

Members of the APTA recognized individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Atlantic Canada’s trucking industry at its annual awards presentation during the association’s annual conference.

Krista Buell of Sunbury Transport, was recognized as the Dispatcher of the Year by the APTA. The Fredericton, N.B. resident has worked at Sunbury for 17 years and spent the past eight years in dispatch. Buell was notably recognized for her ability to always keep the best interest of drivers in mind, making them feel like people, and not just numbers.

Eassons Transportation ‘s safety manager, David Miller, was presented with the Safety to Motor Transportation award, for his dedication to safety on the highways. Joining Eassons in the mid-90s as a dispatcher, the Nova Scotia resident is currently in charge of numerous safety initiatives within the company including hiring, recruitment and retention, training, and drug testing. Miller serves on a number of committees in the industry. His positive demeanour and sense of humour contribute to Miller’s ability to be an ideal ambassador for the trucking industry.

Outgoing chairman of the APTA, Vaughn Sturgeon of the Warren Group, was awarded the Service to the Industry honour. Sturgeon joined the Warren Group in 1994 and was honoured for his strong ideals in business, community and personal areas of his life.

“We are pleased to pay tribute to these men and women for their hard work and dedication to the industry,” noted Peter Nelson, APTA executive director.

“Each year the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association recognizes outstanding individuals who toil behind the wheel or behind the desks of the companies that make up our association. We are pleased again this year to present another exceptional group of awards recipients.”

Executive decision

Gord Peddle of D.D. Transport was elected chairman of the APTA on Oct. 25; marking the first time a Newfoundland resident has headed the association’s executive.

The president of the Mt. Pearl, Nfld.-based carrier has served on the APTA board for nine years and the board of the Canadian Trucking Alliance for three years.

“I look forward to upholding the values and goals of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association and its members,” Peddle said.

“The APTA continues to grow and respond to the advocacy and awareness of the long-haul trucking industry in Atlantic Canada. The challenges are many and the opportunities are great. I am very much looking forward to my new role and responsibilities as chair of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association Board of Directors.”

Peddle replaced Sturgeon as chair of the APTA; and was joined by a number of newly elected officials, who all were chosen for a two-year term.

Sturgeon remains in the APTA executive board as past chair, while the rest of the executive is made up of: Shane Esson of Keltic Transportation, first vice-chair; Jean St. Onge, second vice-chair; and Vicki McKibbon, secretary-treasurer.

“I had an interesting, but enjoyable two years and wouldn’t have missed it for anything,” said Sturgeon, during the AGM.

“We had and are still having some border issues and we need to keep lobbying the government for changes to that.”

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