TORONTO, ON – A group of international women who came to Canada to participate in Trucking HR Canada’s Women with Drive summit had a first-hand look at Canadian trucking on Tuesday, during tours of Bison Transportation and J.G. Drapeau Transport terminals.
The drivers, instructors, and safety compliance managers from as far away as Sweden and Australia are scheduled to offer global industry perspectives during a panel at Thursday’s third-annual summit in Toronto.
Norm Sneyd, vice president of business development for Bison Transportation, escorted the four women through Bison’s open concept facility and explained the dynamics of Bison’s operations, maintenance program and driver training process. And they discussed common challenges such as a shortage of qualified drivers, and the demands of Electronic Logging Devices.
“To get a perspective of trucking in different countries, but also to get the woman’s view of it, was very special to me,” said Sneyd, adding that he was very impressed with the industry pride he saw from the group.
After lunch, the group made their way to J.G. Drapeau’s facility where they observed how a smaller Canadian fleet operates. Of the fleet’s 15 drivers, just two are women.
The international visitors were clearly passionate about trucking, said Margaret Hogg, general manager. “You could see it. You could feel it.”
Meryn Morrison, health and safety compliance manager with Regal Haulage in New Zealand, observed that the Canadian fleets she toured appeared to put their people first.
“We put the customer first,” she said. “Because we have a small customer pool [in New Zealand], we really look after and take care of our customers.”
Elin Engström, a 27-year-old driver and test-driving coordinator from Sweden, added that she could relate to the harsh weather conditions Canadian drivers encounter. She knows first-hand what it means to chain up wheels in northern reaches of the country.
“My first time, it took me an hour to put on two sets of chains,” she said, adding that she eventually picked up some tricks from a tow truck driver. Now it takes her about 15 minutes.
Heather Jones, an veteran Australian driver and owner of Success Transport, admitted that snow seldom strands drivers in her country. But her company’s Long Combination Vehicles can be stranded by brush fires and floods in areas where there is no room to turn around. Such conditions are the reason why long haulers in Australia are encouraged to carry three days of food and 20 liters of water, she said. They carry a satellite communication device called an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) because of bad reception in some areas.
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