WINNIPEG, Man. – The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) is applauding an agreement it reached with the provincial government on changes in how the amount of trips are allotted to trucking companies traveling on Provincial Truck Highway 6 (PTH 6).
Initiated by the MTA’s board of directors, Manitoba Infrastructure announced that the number of daily trips for Rocky Mountain doubles (RMD), a combination double vehicle that has a slightly shorter configuration than a traditional combination double, would be reduced from 10 round trips to four single trips per day, with companies able to request additional trips when needed.
MTA executive director Terry Shaw explained that although PTH 6 is the main connector between southern and northern Manitoba, due to a variety of factors they can be difficult to maintain.
“Costs of servicing the northern parts of our provinces, specifically Northern Manitoba, gets very high,” Shaw said. “PTH 6, because it is a northern connector, it’s not interstate quality…it’s a single lane each way, some of the shoulders need work and some of the lines need repainting, so the government kind of balked at increasing traffic with the Rocky Mountain double combinations.”
Shaw said part of the discussion the MTA’s board had with the government focused on the environment.
“Everyone was saying one of the best ways to become environmentally efficient is to become fuel efficient, and a great way to become fuel efficient in our industry is efficiency combinations and efficiency technology,” he said. “So hauling two trailers with one truck as opposed to one trailer with one truck is a huge gain in terms of greenhouse (reductions) and economic efficiencies.”
The MTA relayed to the government that there was an opportunity for the trucking industry and the province’s northern communities on the environmental front when it came to expanding the long-combination vehicle network in Manitoba, and PTH 6 was an obvious emphasis.
“People were using Rocky Mountain doubles on PTH 6 but they were limited to how many they could run every day,” Shaw said.
“We had some members who were hauling three or four Rocky Mountain doubles daily and the rest of their trips on PTH 6 would be single-tractor, single-trailer combination, and they were saying instead of running six individual trips, I could run three Rocky Mountain double trips. That just inherently increases our economic efficiency, it makes us more competitive in northern Manitoba and it is better for the environment.”
The MTA worked with the government to see how they could get more Rocky Mountain double trips into northern Manitoba. There was a cap of 50 trips per day on PTH 6, but some companies were maxing out at 10 trips per day, but could have used a few more.
Shaw said with the government wanting to limit the trips on PTH 6 and the industry wanting the opposite, it was an opportunity for the two parties to work together to find middle ground.
The eventual agreement saw the number of trips reduced per permit, and companies requiring more than 10 trips could now buy permits from businesses that did not use their entire allotment, allowing them additional trips on PTH 6.
“It was a real nice win on a whole bunch of fronts and it was a great example of the partnership we have with the government and how we can all communicate opportunities back and forth and ultimately sign off on something that works for everybody,” Shaw said.
“While it’s not ideal, it gave those companies that had more than 10 trips a day the ability to use more than 10 trips a day with Rocky Mountain doubles, and those that only used four trips a day didn’t have to buy a 10-trip permit, they could buy a six-trip permit and leave four trips for somebody that could use it.”