If the old saying that there’s no rest for the wicked is true, then the Canadian trucking industry must be very wicked indeed…
While the rest of Canadian industry has enjoyed a relatively quiet summer, as per usual, Canadian trucking has perhaps undergone one of its most tumultuous in recent history.
Thanks to the recent rejection of the newly-minted hours of service rules of our southern neighbours by the U.S. Court of Appeals the rug has literally been pulled out from under the feet of Canada’s trucking industry, which was basing its own legislative renovations largely on those of the U.S., with a few exceptions.
And thanks to the questionable motives of a few consumer safety groups (such as CRASH), whose stated concern for the health and well-being of truckers is touching but not entirely believable, the The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will have to justify its sleeper berth exception, and the extension of the 10-hour driving limit to 11, to the court. If the court rejects the FMSCA’s reasoning, all those careful hours of planning and debate in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, not to mention all the money and time spent on trucker training will go to hell in a hand basket.
As for the industry’s ongoing intermodal blues, and specifically the eternal misery that is the CN Brampton Intermodal Terminal, truckers are once again caught between a rock and a hard place, namely carriers and CN itself. On one hand, carriers who serve the terminal continue to lowball each other price wise, making paying truckers for lengthy overtime waits an impossibility (they say), while CN continues to ignore its own deficiencies (lack of adequate space, equipment and manpower) and point the finger at carriers reluctant to pick up and store containers over the weekend for receivers who refuse to open up to receive them.
CN even had the nerve recently to scold truckers for being late for their deep-of-night appointments, which seems terribly unjust, given that the drivers just don’t want to be spending X number of hours waiting when they’re on time.
Meanwhile, truck drivers are in danger of getting killed in Blue Water Bridge Customs queues, while the MTO insists they should be keeping an eye out for flashing signage that doesn’t flash. Oh – and they’ve been asked not to honk their horns because the residents are complaining.
And as if that’s not enough to give you the night sweats, hazmat carriers are finding out that they’ll have to obtain yet another U.S. Department of Transportation permit if they want to carry certain materials into the U.S., while Canadian truckers have yet to learn whether their FAST cards will be accepted once security checks for hazmat drivers kick in (the hazmat carrier security measures are part of a completely separate program, run by the Transport Security Administration).
But never mind the North American continent – how about that Filipino government that actually pulled out 51 military personnel out of Iraq, risking the wrath of the U.S., to save the life of a single trucker kidnapped by terrorists?