Government to help Newfoundland truckers

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – They may not have found the cash they were looking for, but a group of Newfoundland and Labrador truckers walked away last month with promises of other help from their provincial government.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Carriers Association – which represents about 15 carriers – and the 70-member Newfoundland Independent Truckers Association met with several government ministers in mid-September, seeking nothing less than relief from some of the highest diesel prices in the country. (At press time, prices at the pumps in St. John’s reached as high as 74 cents before the addition of the Harmonized Sales Tax. Cardlock prices were as high as 68 cents.) While they didn’t find price relief, the truckers felt they had a sympathetic ear from finance, transportation and industry ministers.

“It (the government) has agreed to facilitate discussions, to make shippers more aware of the importance of fuel surcharges and the necessity to return them to the truckers,” says Gordon Peddle, the manager of D and D Transport. So too will the groups find help in raising public awareness about the truckers’ plight.

It wasn’t an unreasonable government stance, he adds. “What do we do when every industry starts going to the public for help? We complain the fisheries get too much money, the farmers get too much subsidies….

“But our drivers need more money, our industry needs more money, and our carriers need more money. Inevitably, the consumer has to pay,” he says of fuel prices, noting that the actual financial help doesn’t have to come from government coffers. n

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