Quebec master contract won’t set minimum fees for O/Os

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Quebec will be creating a permanent roundtable on the province’s trucking industry and a master contract outlining issues that need to be addressed in deals between owner/operators and carriers.

The master contract won’t outline minimum fees for services but will include clauses that factor the varying prices of diesel fuel, insurance and other costs into rates. The roundtable will include representatives from unions and industry associations in similar fashion to the forum developed last October to address concerns raised during a series of protests and blockades. At this point it’s not clear if the government initiative will result in the creation of a professional association for owner/operators.

The bill containing the new measures is scheduled to become law by June.

Country’s top carriers increase revenues by 4%

The country’s 82 largest for-hire carriers (those earning $25 million or more annually) generated operating revenues of $1.6 billion during the last three months of 1999, a four per cent increase in the average revenue per carrier over 1998, Statistics Canada reports.

On the expense side, high diesel prices pushed carrier fuel payments (excluding owner/operators) upwards by 24 per cent compared to the same period last year. Despite the hit on their fuel costs, however, the country’s largest carriers were able to maintain their operating ratio at 0.94, the same as what they posted in the final quarter of 1998. By trucking industry standards, 0.94 is considered healthy.

Should IRP dispute committee wield power of sanctions?

Jurisdictions that participate in the International Registration Plan (IRP) – a source of one-stop shopping for vehicle registrations – are still trying to decide if they should give IRP’s Dispute Resolution Committee the power to sanction members that fall out of favor.

Although 66 per cent of members want the committee to have the power to pull rights and privileges, according to a recent survey, they aren’t as willing to let it hand down financial penalties. They balked at the idea that the committee should have the right to double or triple fees, when dues aren’t paid.

About 74 per cent said they wanted the board of directors to arbitrate disputes between the committee and any member before the issue is presented to members in the form of a ballot.

Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan are already members of the plan, which includes 48 states and authorizes the registration of more than 1.7 million commercial vehicles. New Brunswick and Quebec were both approved for membership last year. They will begin processing IRP registrations by April 2001.

Other Canadian provinces are expected to participate by the end of 2001, with Mexico to follow.

Federal budget a big bust for infrastructure funding

When federal Finance Minister Paul Martin stood in the House of Commons on Feb. 28 to table his 2000 budget, Canada’s transportation industry held its collective breath. Everybody knew Ottawa had a $115-billion surplus (over the next five years) to play with, and the various provincial transportation ministries and industry associations had lobbied long and hard to make this the year the government committed to rebuilding Canada’s crumbling highways.

After Martin sat down, most of them were left holding their noses.

In the budget, the federal government earmarked $100 million for infrastructure in 2000-01, $350 million in 2001-02, and $550 million per year for the following four years. At the $550-million-per-year level, $400 million will be allocated for municipal infrastructure in cities and rural communities across Canada. But that includes affordable housing and greenspace.

That leaves $150 million per year specifically for highways.

“I’m amazed that the government can believe $150 million a year for four years is enough to improve our roads, when its own study suggested a price tag of $17 billion just to bring the roads up to standard,” said Canadian Trucking Alliance CEO David Bradley, after the budget was tabled. “When you consider how much the U.S. is putting in to its roads and highways – some $300 billion (Cdn) over the next six or seven years – the playing field just became more uneven.”

Of course, the federal government expects more than $150 million a year to go into highway infrastructure; it just isn’t going to put more money up front. That means the provinces will have to come up with matching funds to pour into roads.

Transportation management program available on the Web

Centennial College has launched a new transportation management program that will be delivered exclusively on the Web through

The program has been designed specifically for those in the transportation industry who want to expand their capabilities but are too busy to attend formal classes. It will cover the planning and implementing of raw material moves, in-process inventory, finished goods, services and other information from the point of origin to the consumer.

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Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

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