NEW FEE? NO PROBLEM: Oversized loads in Quebec now have to pay a new escort fee, but most haulers aren't complaining.
MONTREAL, Que. – As of Apr. 1, Surete Quebec now charges a $75 per hour fee to escort super loads. But according to long-time oversized loads hauler Transport Watson Montreal, this is not a bad thing.
According to Roger Jacques, who books escorts and takes care of permits for Watson, the downside of the formerly free service was less than optimal service quality. Once the new system gets any kinks worked out though, it should take only 24 hours to set up an escort, instead of the traditional 48 hours.
There should also be no more waiting around for replacement officers every time a load enters a different policing district in the province. Fewer delays will even save some money, Jacques says. “It won’t be a pain in the neck. To be honest with you, since we knew it was coming along, we were welcoming the idea. It was getting hard to book escorts,” he said.
Loads originating both inside and outside Quebec will be subject to the fee, although Jacques explains that only loads over 16’4″ wide, over 16’4″ high and over 150 feet long will require police escort. Whether one or two police cars will be required will be decided on a case by case basis.The hourly rate of $75 will be per car, for the round-trip time, and is all-inclusive. According to Jacques, there will no extra costs for lodging and meals.
There are opinions floating around that Transports Quebec is encouraging the use of rail and marine to transport oversized loads, which could very well be true.
A disgruntled driver stuck for two weeks in New Brunswick last fall, waiting for his carrier to get permits to enter Quebec with several oversized loads, complained that Transports Quebec is downright hostile to oversized loads originating from outside of Quebec. Jacques, however, sees no hostility on the part of Transports Quebec toward oversized loads, or any evidence that they are actively discouraging their movement by road.
“Anybody can get a permit for a load up to 5x5x40 metres in 15 minutes. I’ve even ordered permits for US-based companies that were having trouble getting permits.”
He figures that if a company outside Quebec is having trouble it is because whoever is tasked with getting the permits does not know what he is doing, or that it is a super load, which requires more work to obtain a permit. Jacques figures that the fee-based system will be fine-tuned by the fall and that otherwise, everything else about hauling oversized loads will remain the same.