APTA calls for immediate end to highway blockades

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DIEPPE, N.B. — The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) says its members are being held hostage by independent truckers blocking the region’s highways. The APTA carrier members are calling on the independent truckers, who appear to represent primarily the raw forest product independent carriers serving the pulp and lumber mills in Northern New Brunswick, to end these blockades immediately.

In recent days, these blockades by independent truckers have hampered the free movement of consumables in the region. The APTA says this delay is having devastating financial effects on for-hire trucking companies which have hundreds of loaded trucks sitting at the side of the road, many of them carrying perishable goods. APTA has endeavored to mediate with government, the RCMP and the independents the continuation of freight movements, and assist in facilitating meetings of government, carriers, shippers and truckers in order to open dialogue and communication on the issues of concern.

“We are sympathetic to the independent’s concerns,” said APTA president, Ralph Boyd, “however we have to ensure the unobstructed movement of consumables throughout our region.”

During these blockades, independent truckers have voiced concern about high fuel prices.

“This issue is affecting us all, but people have to realize that solutions to these problems cannot be reached by blocking the highway,” Boyd said. “The daily movement of consumables in the Atlantic Region by truck is imperative to our economy. Most of the carriers of the APTA already receive compensation from their shippers for the increase in fuel prices through a Fuel Surcharge. In return, APTA carriers are compensating their owner operators in various formats. In today’s economic environment, a fuel surcharge is imperative if a trucking company or owner operator is going to remain in business.”

Over the last 15 years, the trucking industry has evolved from a regulated to a deregulated environment and has grown to be the largest conveyor of freight in Atlantic Canada, according to the APTA. The association says this growth has resulted in a competitive market where many new entrants are not knowledgeable of the industry or prepared for such crisis.

The APTA has asked all its carrier members to advise their on-road personnel to act responsibly and to avoid all confrontation with the protesters during this dispute in hopes of a swift painless conclusion.

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