Private Links: An important conference for private carriers

by Bruce Richards

Here at the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada we are well underway with arrangments for the 2007 annual conference, and it has all the earmarks of presenting an important learning opportunity for fleet managers. The dates of the conference are June 14-15, and I encourage each of you involved in any way with the operation of a private fleet to be part of the most important event of the year for the private trucking community. The event takes place at Queen’s Landing in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake, a stately Georgian hotel with all the hallmarks of a southern mansion.

This conference is the single best opportunity for fleet managers to join with their peers and industry suppliers in a relaxing yet business-like forum where they can participate in educational and instructive seminars. The seminars are designed by people directly involved with private trucking and they will offer real ideas that you can use to make your fleet operations more effective.

This year’s seminars focus on members sharing information and experiences with other members – a time-tested way to share knowledge. A review of the conference seminar agenda will convince any fleet manager of the value of spending some time with other fleet operators and industry suppliers at such a value laden conference.

The agenda includes seminartopics such as: Creating a Culture of Safety – How safety management programs work in the best fleets; Overcoming the Obstacles – How fleet managers solve difficult issues and improved efficiency; Technology That Really Helps – Fleet managers assess technology that worked for them; Labour Law In Trucking – An update on developments, decisions, and trends in labour law; and Combating The Fuel Crunch – Strategies for coping in the era of high cost and low supply.

Let me preview a little of what you can expect to learn during the conference: Well-constructed and documented safety management programs (SMP’s) are becoming increasingly important for the safe operation of fleets. Hiring good drivers is only a beginning. In this seminar fleet managers with successful SMP’s will describe the elements and the hurdles they had to overcome to make them so successful.

Fleet managers experience difficult issues every day and sometimes they feel as though they are on their own in solving them. In this seminar members will candidly describe some of their most difficult problems and how they were solved.

Selected fleet managers will be on-hand to discuss technology tools that they have introduced to their fleets and to discuss the pros and cons and the challenges of implementation; Chris Andree of Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson, LLP will cover the labour law environment as it affects trucking. Always a popular speaker at PMTC events, Chris is adept at explaining the law and how to ensure compliance.

We couldn’t have two more expert groups of speakers handling the Fuel Crunch seminar. Canada’s FleetSmart and the American SmartWay programs have both proven effective in containing and reducing fuel costs and they will tell us how. And of course we’ll mix in a little social time at the Chairman’s Reception and Dinner Evening where we will experience a magical evening of great food, fun and lively entertainment featuring Bill Abbott, about whom Samuel L. Jackson said, “This man is incredible!”

An annual highlight of the conference is the PMTC’s Annual Awards Luncheon. This is the event at which we celebrate the best that trucking has to offer. The Private Fleet Safety Awards, sponsored by Zurich recognize the best safety practices of Canadian fleets. There are some truly outstanding and conciencious fleet operators when it comes to safety practices, and these awards recognize that performance.

We continue celebrating excellence with the induction of selected drivers to the Hall of Fame for Professional Drivers, sponsored by Shaw Tracking. The Hall of Fame resides on the PMTC Web site ( where you can see the names of those enshrined since 1990. And of course the Vehicle Graphics Design Awards, sponsored by 3M Canada are always a crowd favourite. Fleet graphics have come such a long way in the years that we have given out these awards. You’ll enjoy seeing the creative designs that carriers (private and for-hire) use to promote their products or services. It’s a colourful presentation of extremely effective marketing tools. If you’ve not participated in this conference before, I encourage you to give it a try. A small investment of your time will pay big dividends in learning, and networking. At the same time we look forward to greeting all our returnees.

Conference registration information is available on our Web site or by calling the office 905-827-0587. We’ve blocked off rooms at Queen’s Landing, but only for a limited time. So with an agenda like this one, there’s no need to delay. Register now and please, say hello when you’re there.

– The Private Motor Truck Council is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. Your comments or questions can be addressed to

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