Does the prospect of Mexican companies coming to Canada concern you?
November 2, 2007
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - In early September, a Mexican truck moved beyond the 25-mile commercial zone between the US and Mexico for the first time since 1982 as part of a pilot program between the two coun...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – In early September, a Mexican truck moved beyond the 25-mile commercial zone between the US and Mexico for the first time since 1982 as part of a pilot program between the two countries. The project will allow up to 100 Mexican carriers to operate deep into the US, and likewise, for 100 US carriers to do business further south of the border.
The idea has been met with scrutiny on both sides of the border, most notably the US Senate, which moved to cease funding during the program’s first week.
The US-based Owner-Operators Independent Drivers’ Association has viewed the move as a blow to its members’ competitiveness in the marketplace, as it fears outside workers will be willing to work for lower rates.
As Canadian officials watch the program’s progress with interest, many wonder how a permanent move would shape the character of trucking in North America.
Truck West stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see how drivers think the move will affect the industry.
Julien Gagnon, a driver with Rona out of Montreal, Que., says that bringing Mexican carriers into the mix might be a positive thing for the industry.
“I think if Mexico has enough trucks coming in, maybe that can help, as long as they do what we do in the US and Canada (and) abide by the rules,” he said.
Joe Watson, a driver with Schneider National in Guelph, Ont., says safety is a big factor when considering allowing outside carriers to operate on our roads.
“My family drives on these roads just like the next person and I rely on (carriers’) safety to keep them safe. And if they’re not going to be safe, then they shouldn’t be on the road,” he says.
Watson also acknowledged how the move might affect O/Os as the possibility of undercutting would be very real.
Dave Mace, a 40-year veteran of the industry based out of Napanee, Ont., says he can’t see the program having a large effect because he doesn’t believe many Mexican carriers will choose to take part.
“It looks like most Mexican carriers just aren’t going to get involved because they’re going to be under such close scrutiny.”
He also noted that a recent rule by the Mexican government which will ban drivers who are not literate in Spanish from operating within the country will discourage US carriers from participating as well.
Doug Walker, a driver with Lloyd Hurst Transport in Atwood, Ont., says he can’t see the program having a large effect on the industry.
“It’s slow for everybody right now and everybody’s undercutting everybody. So in that respect, I can’t really see it being that much different,” he says. “From an owner/operator point of view, I can see where they’re getting ticked off with it because it’s taking business away from them. But as a company driver, it won’t affect me. I get paid no matter what. If the Mexicans want to come into Canada, I just hope that they take pride in their vehicles like a lot of us do in North America. I’m not going to begrudge them, just make sure they have a safe vehicle.”
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