Freight search takes central carriers east

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — As lanes become less lucrative in Ontario some carriers have pushed east looking for freight, much to the dismay of eastern outfits.

Peter Nelson, the executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, told the Telegraph-Journal that as the automotive sector declined there was an increase of Ontario license plates in eastern Canada.

"We’re seeing some of these Ontario-based trucks hauling to Newfoundland," Nelson was quoted as saying.

The trip to Canada’s farthest point is marred by a number of logistical challenges, so an influx of Ontario trucks is a significant indication central Canadian carriers are serious about expanding their breadth.

But it is a free market and of deregulation in the industry. Countrywide carrier competition and protectionism by regions is commonplace, according to David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association and CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Atlantic Canada has long since been a major importer of goods from Ontario. Many carriers in eastern Canada made a living off of bringing those goods to local communities, but with Ontario trucks providing the service many outfits in the east are parking their trucks, says the APTA.

And it all started with the U.S. economy. Nelson is predicting a "sharp decline" in freight for New Brunswick carriers, as competition in a flooded sector is compounded by a decrease in imports from the U.S.

"We’ve already seen trucks parked. Now we’re going to see drivers laid off," Nelson told local press, although Nelson doesn’t have any solid statistics because it’s happened so quickly.

But the national association is quick to point out a similar scenario is happening all over Canada because the industry in general is flooded with too many trucks.

"That’s the nature of the beast," Bradley said. "We have suffered over the last 25 years
with an over-capacity."

— with files from the Telegraph-Journal

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