Safest petroleum haulers honoured by CPPI

by James Menzies

CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) has recognized five of the safest carriers to serve the Western Canadian petroleum industry at a recent awards banquet in Calgary.

The institute, which represents Canadian refiners and marketers of petroleum products, launched its Common Carrier Safety Awards to reward the safest carriers in five categories. Ted Stoner, vice-president of CPPI’s Western Division said the awards are aimed at rewarding carriers who: reduce their incident frequencies over the previous calendar year; improve their overall safety performance; and promote driver and fleet safety within the transportation industry.

This year’s winners included: Petrohaul Ltd., Most Improved Award for Product Mixes; Economy Carriers, Most Improved Award for Product Spills; Pe Ben Bulk Transport, Most Improved Award for Vehicle Accidents; Trimac Transportation, Most Improved Award for Personal Injuries; and taking top honours was Bridgeway Transport, Best Carrier Performance Award, excelling in all safety areas.

Combined, the winners made more than 184,000 deliveries in 2004 on behalf of CPPI member companies.

Frank Smitka, owner of Bridgeway Transport, travelled to Calgary to accept the award on behalf of his company.

“We’re quite proud,” he told Truck News. “It’s not the first time we’ve had a good year, but this is the first time we are being recognized because this award is new. They always gave you stats in the past and you got congratulated by your customers but this is something new CPPI has set up that they’re doing on an annual basis.”

The award is particularly special for Bridgeway, since the company operates on Vancouver Island – a region that features some challenging terrain – and because the small carrier was up against some major players in the industry.

Bridgeway itself operates five tractors out of Nanaimo and one out of Victoria. They’re all company-owned units used to haul bulk fuels including gasoline, diesel and some hazardous waste such as used oil. About 50 per cent of its business is with Imperial Oil, but the company also hauls for Husky Oil, Great Canadian Superstores and Petro Canada agencies.

“The award is based on the number of incidents per 1,000 deliveries so it doesn’t matter how big you are or how small, you’re still being gauged the same way,” points out Smitka. “But we feel quite proud we managed to win it. It’s quite a boost in morale for our drivers to go up against the big guys who are the benchmark for the industry.”

“Our drivers are happy to work for our company,” he says. “We treat them well and we get the drivers to stay with us for years and years. I’ve run the business for 14 years and I have a couple of drivers who have been with me for over 10 years.”

He added the carrier’s in-house training is also a reason for its stellar safety record.

Although CPPI’s carrier awards are new, the organization has always kept a close eye on carrier safety records. Drivers who serve the industry are monitored closely and assessed demerit points every time they’re involved in an incident – and that’s above and beyond the penalties handed out by law enforcement agencies.

“If your driver leaves your employment and goes to a competitor, that company can access that database and see how the driver has performed,” points out Smitka. As a result of CPPI’s monitoring system, carriers and drivers share the responsibility to maintain a spotless safety record and Bridgeway’s drivers are now sharing in the success of winning CPPI’s top award for carrier safety.

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