HAMILTON, Ont. — In a recent speech to the Hamilton Transportation Club, CTA CEO David Bradley said the time is ripe for a rate increase.
Bradley said that after 15 years of restructuring and coming to grips with economic deregulation, the pendulum is swinging back towards carriers.
"There is no excess capacity in the trucking industry and even if you were to buy more trucks, would you be able to get the drivers to drive them? The shippers are no longer in a position to play one carrier off against the other," Bradley said.
"At one time you might have said that no other industry had less control over its destiny than trucking, but that is starting to change and carriers have the opportunity to take back some control if they act decisively and together. The time for a market correction is now.
"Clearly, the current economic conditions in Hamilton present added challenges," Bradley said, referring to the loss of a number of major businesses in recent years and the ongoing situation at Stelco. "That may limit your options and it’s not easy, but there are still options for you to pursue to protect yourself as best as possible."
Issues like the insurance crisis, having to comply with increased security measures and the driver shortage, are all very real challenges, said Bradley.
"But, they also present opportunities for those that can weather the storm. Trucking is a harder business to get into now, and the tap of new entrants into the marketplace is down to a trickle compared to a decade ago.
"Ultimately, he who has the drivers will win," Bradley said. "While solving the driver shortage is a complex matter involving a number of things, there can be no doubt that improvement to driver compensation and efforts to get drivers home more, will be part of the package. Issues like hours of service and wait times at the border and at shipping docks cannot be resolved on the backs of the drivers. They need to be compensated for that time."
Market adjustments will not happen over night, in all cases and to everyone’s satisfaction, said Bradley. "But, more and more carriers are now charging for detentions and delays, for multi-stops and other ancillary charges. More and more are demanding increased rates. And, guess what? They are getting them and making them stick. This has to happen."
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