Carriers and Shippers Begin ‘Open and Honest’ Dialogue

TORONTO — Openness and honesty: two important factors between shippers and truckers, and, according to the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), was the tone at a recent meeting with the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association (CITA).

The talks, which took place earlier this month, were aimed at opportunities for getting waste out of the transport system; the pros and cons of the bid/tender process for gaining long-term efficiency improvements; the challenges of the driver shortage and more. 

“The discussion was very open and respectful of each side’s realities,” said Bob Ballantyne, president of CITA.

David Bradley, OTA president, sees the forum as on-going. “We knew going in that one meeting with 20 shippers and carriers wasn’t going to lead to a resolution of all the issues and challenges we share.”

They did, however, dig into a few key issues, like bids and tenders. Shippers advised the carriers at the meeting to analyze all the data provided in order to best quote prices and pay closer attention to corporate bid processing policies. In return, the carriers suggested bids-tenders be put out as long as possible and that contracts and payment terms are fair and balanced.

They also talked about the carrier evaluation-verification process, better communication strategies, and the treatment of truck drivers at shipping facilities.

“Everyone wants to be the shipper of choice or the carrier of choice,” added Bradley. “So to get advice from the very people you are trying to win over in that regard is not something to be ignored.”

On top of sharing experiences and providing advice, the group also created a “best practices” guide for shippers and carriers.

“Dialogue is always good and the participants all felt it was well worth the effort and long overdue,” Bradley summed up.

Ballantyne second Bradley: “This is an important first step in creating the basis for productive dialogue going forward,” says Ballantyne.

More discussion is incoming as CITA and the OTA have agreed to meet again and expand the guide in about six months.

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