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Count on it – at last!

For years now I have complained that Canada was too far behind other countries in providing valuable statistical information on transportation and logistics areas. Just a couple of weeks ago I was speaking at an Idealease/PMTC event and...


For years now I have complained that Canada was too far behind other countries in providing valuable statistical information on transportation and logistics areas. Just a couple of weeks ago I was speaking at an Idealease/PMTC event and chastised Ottawa for abandoning some of its own efforts in this regard, such as its annual reports on private fleets and for-hire carriers. Transportation accounts for 6.3% of Canadian GDP so why was Ottawa being so lax in ensuring it had good data on it?

As a result, I felt, too many supply chain decisions were made and too many opinions held in the absence of recent and reliable market data. In fact, much of the research we have taken on at Transportation Media Group has been due to a complete frustration with how little statistical information there was about the Canadian transportation and logistics market.

Of late, however, I am pleased to see things are starting to change. Supply Chain & Logistics Canada partnered with Industry Canada to provide a series of comprehensive reports, the latest being on global business strategy and innovation with an emphasis on Canadian logistics. The pioneering work done by Philippe Richer at Industry Canada is something I always keep close at hand.

The Canadian Industrial Transportation Association has partnered with Dr. Alan Saipe to provide a very detailed annual report on shipping practices. CITA and CITT have partnered with us to provide an annual look at transportation buying trends and I’ve been fortunate to share the spotlight with Dr. Saipe at several events over the last few years when he presents the results from his survey as I present our own.  Two other indices focused on truck freight have also been very beneficial in driving more intelligent discussion over the past year: Transcore partnered with the University of Manitoba to produce a monthly Canadian Spot Market Freight Index while Nulogx partnered with Dr. Saipe to produce the monthly Canadian General Freight Index, examining pricing for truck freight.

Both those reports appear monthly in our Dashboard section.

The latest addition is Royal Bank’s Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), published in partnership with the Purchasing Management Association of Canada. The RBC PMI is based on questionnaire responses from a panel of purchasing or senior executives in more than 400 manufacturing companies in Canada. A large number of the survey panel members are PMAC members. It will be released on the first business day of each month.  In addition to the headline PMI, which is a composite indicator designed to provide a single-figure snapshot of the health of the manufacturing sector, the survey also tracks changes in output, new orders, employment, inventories, prices and supplier delivery times.

If we look at examples of similar indices in other countries, the PMI should turn out to be a comprehensive and early indicator of trends in the Canadian manufacturing sector and one trucking executives should watch closely as a barometer of the Canadian economy and one of the industry’s most important clients. I know I will be sure to examine it in detail and to share the results with you in the months to come.


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