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Moving things along

FREDERICTON, N.B. - A wide reaching plan released by the Atlantic Premiers promises to reduce regulatory duplication of many issues over the course of the next two years.The goal: to attract business ...

FREDERICTON, N.B. – A wide reaching plan released by the Atlantic Premiers promises to reduce regulatory duplication of many issues over the course of the next two years.

The goal: to attract business to New Brunswick and create a climate free of unnecessary rules and procedures. While the proposal is slowly gaining speed in some areas, it has already been implemented in others.

The trucking industry, according to project coordinators, has been looked at as one of the top priorities on a long list of recommendations to eliminate red tape.

Drivers, fleets and O/Os will certainly attest to the potential benefits of less paperwork and running around. In time, the new processes will make keeping on top of yearly registration, buying permits, or simply following rules and regulations far easier.

The first step in the process was the successful implementation of the harmonized weights and dimensions for the East Coast.

The next immediate issue in the sorting pile is the harmonization of oversized and overweight loads for the region.

“The trucking industry has often questioned why we have different rules for pilot vehicles, flags, lighting, and times of day for travel. So we’re working on trying to harmonize those rules for heavy machinery equipment and oversized and overweight loads,” says John Palmer, the director of the transportation policy branch in New Brunswick.

“We’re going to continue the discussions that were started several years ago on this effort. We expect to have stakeholder sessions where those transporters involved can react to various proposals that have been made and some harmonization efforts. That’s one of the important components that we’ll be undertaking.”

Ralph Boyd, president of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA), says the move towards the regulatory reduction is one his group has sought for many years.

In June 2000, 37 recommendations to eliminate regulatory barriers were made by the Red Tape Reduction Advisory Committee (formed by Premier Bernard Lord in 1999). Of these, the government committed to implementing 34.

Trucking-related initiatives include the harmonization of regulations, opting for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and the move to the International Registration Plan (IRP).

“Our work (is) to try and harmonize the various aspects of government regulations for trucking, as well as to improve safety for the travelling public – and also to save time and dollars for both the government and the trucking industry and shippers,” explains Palmer.

Once the harmony push is complete, fleets and drivers can look forward to e-business initiatives to help the trucking industry become more efficient by eliminating the need to deal with various jurisdictions.

The future of ITS is still alive and well, too. Atlantic Canada has hired a consulting group to get more information on the benefits of ITS with results slated to be in by May.

“(ITS) is in other provinces and being used in all sorts of ways. We’re hoping to do the study and get more information to (get) a better handle on it,” says Palmer.

“If there is any way we can reduce the amount of stops that they have to make to pick up permits, fuel permits and registration issues and so on, we’re hoping to take a look at that,” says Palmer.

Information for drivers is now available at the Service New Brunswick (SNB) Web site (

“We’ve gone through it with a representative of the trucking industry. She helped us,” explains Denise Trowsdale, of SNB. “…We added some links. This is not a final product. We keep going at it … It’s kind of a working document that we’re trying to improve.”

SNB has made IRP forms available online as well they will look towards electronic fund transfer in the future.

“In the past, (people) had to drive to Fredericton to get their registration or renew a vehicle. At least now they can fax the information,” says Trowsdale.

Another aspect involves a road test of online IRP payments, the results of which will determine whether or not it will become available to the industry as a whole. Currently the project is in the initial phase. Initiating an incentive program for “compliant carriers” with top safety records also graces the to-do list. Drivers could be rewarded with automatic by-passing of scales through a transponder-style apparatus.

Although all initiatives are under way, Palmer insists the gratification will not be immediate for the industry.

“It’s not something that is going to be done quickly,” he says.

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