What is the biggest issue for the trucking industry today?
March 1, 2003
CALGARY, Alta. - The trucking industry is ripe with challenges - most of which are faced head-on by the guy or gal behind the wheel.Rising fuel prices, stagnant rates, underhanded competitors and ever...
CALGARY, Alta. – The trucking industry is ripe with challenges – most of which are faced head-on by the guy or gal behind the wheel.
Rising fuel prices, stagnant rates, underhanded competitors and ever-increasing border waits are just a few of the concerns truckers face everyday. Even the savviest of O/Os often find themselves struggling to make their truck payments in today’s tough operating environment.
With so many challenges facing the trucking industry today, we ventured to the Road King truck stop in Calgary to see what was weighing most on drivers’ minds.
Nobody had any trouble listing off the pressing issues, but the hard part was narrowing it down to a couple.
Cory Groening is a driver for Essen Transport in Morden, Man. He hauls McDonald’s French fries all over Western Canada behind his burgundy Kenworth.
“There’s a lot of issues to choose from,” says the frustrated company driver. “One of the biggest is guys who are out there undercutting each other’s rates.”
Groening, who was en route to Regina before heading home to Manitoba, says the entire industry loses when carriers force rates down.
O/O, Scott Davenport, of Abbotsford, B.C. says there are two main concerns he has.
“Fuel prices are way too high,” he says. “And the rates aren’t going up accordingly.”
Davenport was fueling up for a cross-country trip to Nova Scotia, and he could barely keep from grimacing as the price displayed on the fuel pump continued to climb while he answered the question.
Davenport hauls anything that can be carried on-board a flat deck.
Chuck Winterton is a company driver for Southcoast Trucking out of Aldergrove, B.C. He says it gets expensive to run the U.S. when you’re getting paid in Canadian dollars.
“Canadian truckers going south are being paid in Canadian dollars but the companies are getting paid with U.S. money,” says Winterton, who was pulling a load of produce behind his well-maintained Pete.
Winterton says fleets should pay their drivers in U.S. funds whenever possible to help offset the expense of running south of the border.
Winnipeg-based O/O, Karl Moffat, says the cost of fuel is the number one issue facing truckers.
“Half of my paycheck goes to fuel,” he says. “I ran 6,000 miles over the past two weeks and it cost me $3,000 in fuel.”
Camera shy Bryce Wiens of Regina, Sask. hauls cars for an owner/operator, and he says the main issue facing the industry is the poor rates being paid to drivers.
“There’s not enough money being paid, it’s that simple,” says Wiens. “If we made more cash, nobody would be bitching about it. There’s long hours and no pay.”
Wiens attributes a shortage of qualified drivers to low industry wages. n