CTA chairman urges national solidarity

HALIFAX — Claude Robert, chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, made an impassioned plea for a uniform regulatory regime across the country in his address to delegates at the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association annual convention. In his CTA Report he also urged APTA members and others to work together to achieve this.

“Please stick together with your association and support the CTA,” Robert said. “It is very important that you understand that Canada is not only the Atlantic provinces, Canada is not only Quebec, Canada is not only Ontario. Canada is 10 provinces and we must stick together.

“We need to stick together, because if we don’t we will pay.

“Right now each province is playing like it’s a castle with its own king,” he went on, citing substantial variations in safety rating policies from one jurisdiction to another.

“They are the same trucks and the same drivers, but you get a good safety rating in one province and a bad one in the next,” Robert said.

In a review of other major issues facing the industry, he put the new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and its e-manifest feature being instituted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection near the top of the list.

“ACE is coming and there are very few [carriers] ready for it,” Robert said. “The shippers do not want to take over responsibility in the ACE situation… This is a warning.”

The CTA chairman, who is also president of Groupe Robert in Boucherville, Quebec, the country’s seventh largest for-hire fleet, also spoke at some length about the advantages of single tires as opposed to duals. More particularly, he linked their use to the coming need for air disc brakes that may well be required if trucks are to meet new stopping-distance requirements coming within the next year or so. [Note: brake manufacturers believe bigger drum brakes can meet the likely distance demand for 80,000-lb rigs, but that may not be the case with heavier gross weights. – R.L.]

While we haven’t yet had this confirmed by the truck-maker, Robert said Freightliner has said it will not allow buyers to spec air disc brakes on dual-tire axles because of problems with overheating the inner tire. It’s an air-flow issue. That, if universally true and acted on by other OEMs, would certainly be a boost for the single tire.

The CTA chief urged APTA members to push Atlantic governments to approve singles without a weight penalty.

“You have to go for disc brakes,” Robert said. “And to go for disc brakes, you also have to go for single tires… I invite you to think where you will be in a few years’ time if you don’t have disc brakes.”

In a private interview he said his company’s own tests – run to SAE standards — have shown a 12% fuel-economy gain with single tires. Forgetting possible disc brake needs, that’s compelling.

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