BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -'Hurry up and wait,' is an idiom that most truckers are all too aware of in their working lives, but as of late, truckers serving at least one Ontario terminal are saying enough is ...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -‘Hurry up and wait,’ is an idiom that most truckers are all too aware of in their working lives, but as of late, truckers serving at least one Ontario terminal are saying enough is enough when it comes to wait times. In the September issue of Truck West, we investigated the growing problem of wait times at CN’s Brampton Intermodal Terminal, where some truckers reported being delayed by as much as six or seven hours while waiting to load or unload.
While the case in question may be extreme, the problem of wait times unquestionably sets back the industry’s quest for efficiency. As the economy begins to pick up once again, Truck West decided to stop by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see if truckers have seen an improvement in wait times of late -and what they do to deal with the issue.
Rob Francour, a driver with Clean Waterworks out of Ottawa, Ont., says he hasn’t seen much difference in wait times in recent months, though he still wishes things would move more quickly.
“There is not much I can really do except whine and cry, I guess,” he said. “We talk to our boss but it doesn’t do any good anyway.”
Robert Simard, a driver with Danaca Transport in Longerie, Que., says 10 to 15 hours of waiting time is typical for him Monday to Friday, but notes that things have improved a bit recently.
“It depends on when you arrive to the customer, if it is busy or not busy. If it is not busy, there is no problem -everything is good. Because our company, when the customer is signing a contract, you have two hours for loading, and two hours for unloading.”
But Simard says that a greater issue than the wait time itself is often dealing with shipper attitudes.
“When truckers arrive at the company and the receiver sees you, and the attitude, often, is bad. They are not unhappy about me, but their attitude is no good.”
Hugo Vermeulon, a driver with PSR Transport out of Whitby, Ont., is one of the lucky ones when it comes to wait times as he specializes in heavy equipment delivery rather than freight.
“I deliver equipment -dirt equipment, backhoes, excavators. Usually when I arrive they are happy to see me because their equipment is usually broke, so I can unload right away. Wait time is not an issue for me,” he told Truck West.
But for the odd time he is forced to wait, he at least makes good use of his time.
“If I do (have to wait), I either help them on the way to make things happen, or I just have to wait. I get paid by the hour, so it’s okay.”
Peter Graham, a driver with Kriska Transport out of Prescott, Ont., says that with Kriska’s pre-loaded, drop-trailer program, the wait time situation is getting better, but there’s still room for improvement.
“When we have an appointment, I notice that there has been an improvement, but they still utilize a two-hour so-called ‘grace time’ that is standard for the industry. When we do have to do a light load, unfortunately, there is your two hours,” he said.
“Up here in Canada, they have been more receptive with dropping the trailers, and that reduces the wait time and the surcharges.”
Graham also says that the new hours-of-service have helped improve the situation as well.
“With the new hours-of-service, the customer has to become more aware. By dropping the trailer you can do 10 hours, or whatever you want to do. They have got to be educated that two hours is the industry standard, and the HoS clock is ticking.”
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