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Q: What has to be done to attract new candidates into trucking careers?

NEW MINAS, N.S. - A recent study suggests that Nova Scotia's trucking industry is in the midst of a human resources crisis. Carriers want to expand, but there's a shortage of trained professionals to ...

NEW MINAS, N.S. – A recent study suggests that Nova Scotia’s trucking industry is in the midst of a human resources crisis. Carriers want to expand, but there’s a shortage of trained professionals to put in the driver’s seat.

We went to the Irving Truck Stop in New Minas, nestled in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, and asked truckers what they think has to be done to attract new people to the job.

Don Keddy works for Keltic Transportation, headquartered in Moncton, N.B., hauling frozen foods with a 1999 International. Aside from the need for higher wages and lower fuel prices, he thinks that hours of service rules need to change, especially when he compares the trucking industry to other professions. “I think you should be able to drive 13 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Then, he says, workers would be able to earn a decent living.

Reg Comeau, a 21-year veteran owner/operator, doubts that there really is a driver shortage. “If there is a shortage we should be making good money, based on supply and demand,” he says, taking a break from life in his ’97 Peterbilt, hauling frozen food for Waterville, N.S.-based David Brown United.

“If there is a shortage, it is because of the way companies use drivers. It is pretty hard to run an 80 mph dispatch in a 60-miles-an-hour safety zone,” he adds, referring to how dispatchers sometimes thrust new loads on tired drivers and then harp about their logbooks.

If the industry wants to attract new owner/operators, carriers simply have to up their rates, says Raymond MacDonald. He drives a ’99 Mack for Sargent Trucking, based in Mars Hill, Me. He has a dedicated run into Canada hauling peat moss and orange juice. “I know guys who are losing their trucks because they can’t afford to buy the fuel and make their payments. That’s got to be the biggest issue nowadays.”

Jim Underwood hauls a flatbed B-train behind a ’97 Peterbilt for G.K. Morse and Sons Trucking of Centreville, N.S. He thinks the industry would be more attractive to newcomers with, “more money, sensible government regulations and give us our meals back.” The latter, of course, refers to the fact that Canadian truckers can only deduct 50 per cent of their meal costs, compared to the 80 per cent deductions they used to enjoy.

Roy Comeau is a 30-year trucker and former owner/operator who now works for G.K. Morse and Sons Trucking in Centreville, N.S., hauling anything that will fit on a B-train behind a ’99 Kenworth. And to him, the answer is money.

“We gotta start getting paid what we are worth. I was making $45,000 in ’76. That’s what I’m making now. Why would anyone want to do this? Why should I go away from my family two weeks at a time, eating out of a cooler like a dog because I can’t afford to eat properly?” n

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2 Comments » for Q: What has to be done to attract new candidates into trucking careers?
  1. Shane Ford says:

    There cant be a shortage because companies are telling graduates of federally funding schools NO!
    I graduated in 2011 and it wast u till 2013 that I even got hired. And the company that hired me only need a class 3 not my class 1.
    I get paid hourly which is great but again log nooks make life on the edge.
    I had a driving instructor license and a taxi and a limo license for the province ce of nova Scotia . And my class 1 and trucking school still did not allow me to get work. 1 company Dave browns had me in for a meeting g hired me told me to come back for orentation and I did and the had a guy put me to work driving a load of potatoes around and then after 8 hours fired me same day . Said they weren’t gonna a keep me.
    And to this day haven’t paid me the 12.50 hr times 8 hours.
    They decided I was to be paid by cheque and I explained that I had left other jobs to work for them and that they hired me a week ago and that now I wanted them to own up to this and give me a record of employment for 1 day they refused and reuse do pay me the money they didn’t pay me in 2011 Sept.
    30 companies from nova Scotia to Ontario told me no I didn’t have experience.
    A company in dipped had me do 2 Skype interviews and a telephone interview then drive from Kent illegal to dipped under the guise of i was hired this is a formalitiy we will pay your gas and expenses for travel.
    I go travel 1200 km and have an interview and gain don’t get the job as well as any expenses .
    Truck industry is either racist or idiotic.
    I’m black and now 40 years old. I’m able to email resumes and get interviews and then I don’t get hired if it didn’t cost me and my family financial gain and stability it would be very fing funny.if trucking companies wanna hire immigrants and train them they should hire locals who have the education and ability first.and pay them !!!!!!!
    Regards 😉
    Shane Ford

  2. Reader of many Shane Ford Rants, lol says:

    First and foremost, perhaps people would take you more seriously were you to use proper grammar and punctuation. Additionally, not everything bad that happens to you is because “I’m black and now 40 years old”. You wax idiotic and make no sense in your tirade. If your personality is a reflection of what you wrote above, no wonder you are chronically in search of employment.
    Also please feel free to take advantage of Canada’s Labour Laws…. they are in place for a reason. You get free (which from your rant, I’ll assume you feel you’re entitled to and deserve anyway) help to fight those racist employers who don’t want to pay you. (please note your racism and feeling of entitlement here “if trucking companies wanna hire immigrants and train them they should hire locals”
    The gist of your poorly written post mirrors your incompetency. Take responsibility for yourself and be a man; (OR) Keep on hating and feeling the world owes you. It makes for an absolutely wonderful existence, I can tell.

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