Don MontgomeryRobert PrudhommeJames StraderBruno MorrisetteMike Marcenko
BELLEVILLE, Ont. – The trucking industry will soon bid adieu to 2004 but, unfortunately, will likely carry many of its current troubles into the new year.
While the impact of driver shortages, higher fuel prices and insurance rates, border backups and new HoS regulations have some calling this the industry’s “perfect storm,” hope always springs eternal at the start of a new year. So it should be of little surprise that trucking experts are optimistic heading into 2005, particularly when also considering the considerable improvement in the North American economy over the past year.
Truck News visited the 10-Acre Truck Stop to see what drivers had to say about the future.
“I don’t think there is much future in this business,” said Robert Prudhomme, a Hawkesbury, Ont. resident who drives for Locomote Systems of Mississauga, Ont.
After 27 years driving, he is frustrated with the attitude of the newer breed of drivers.
“It’s just not like it used to be,” he said. “Maybe I should go back to farming.”
Don Montgomery, who drives for Ready Bake Foods three days a week, said he is happy with his job and with the industry.
“I get paid by the hour so that helps matters, and since I work part-time really, I have lots of time to play,” said Montgomery.
Montgomery drives part-time for Dome Productions of Toronto as well, which hauls the television equipment for hockey, football and baseball games all across North America.
“I love what I do. It’s a little slow these days with no hockey games but we still have the other sports to work with,” he said.
James Strader of Prescott, Ont. is looking at the upcoming year with excitement.
He said the year looks good for his company.
“Kriska is growing its fleet and it looks quite promising. The regulations and driver shortage and all of that stuff will always be around but even still there seems to be a lot of work out there and so hopefully that means a lot of profit for everyone in the industry.”
For Bruno Morrisette, a Quebec City driver working for Gilmyr, it’s business as usual.
“I think the upcoming year looks good. My company has about 85 tractors and is continually growing so that is a good sign,” said Morrisette.
Even though some drivers don’t respect the new regulations, truckers can’t drive without them, so implementing new rules is a positive thing, he said.
A driving veteran of 15 years, Mike Marcenko said he is always busy and always has lots to do, which he sees as a positive thing.
“As a driver, there will always be the normal concerns of rising fuel costs and low profit margins, but looking at the bigger picture, things look good,” said Marcenko who drives for Muir’s Cartage of Concorde, Ont. n