TORONTO, Ont. — As founder and president of a medium-sized fleet, Brian Taylor of Liberty Linehaul is expected to bring a fresh perspective to the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) after being elected chairman of the association yesterday.
Taylor will chair the association for two years. He founded Liberty Linehaul in 1987, a company that now operates 48 tractors and 95 trailers out of Ayr, Ont.
The OTA says Taylor’s election is proof small carriers have a voice at OTA.
“It is not how many trucks you have that determines your influence, it’s what you have to say and your commitment to improving the industry that counts,” Taylor said upon being elected. “There are some small carriers out there that may have some preconceived notions about OTA that are simply not reflective of the reality. Everyone has a voice at OTA.”
Taylor joined OTA during the height of the wheel-off crisis of the mid-90s. As a former mechanic, he was able to help develop solutions to the problem. He has served on the boards of the OTA and the Canadian Trucking Alliance in recent years. Taylor recalled his early involvement with OTA as the manager of a small carrier.
“As a small carrier I was pretty intimidated when I was first elected to the board; but the rest of the board – including the big carriers – was very welcoming. I remember feeling somewhat amazed that my opinion counted and still does,” he said.
OTA president David Bradley said the association was impressed by Taylor’s willingness to help.
“He impressed everybody right from the beginning and earned their respect for his balanced, thoughtful and progressive approach to issues,” Bradley said.
Taylor says he will continue to pursue the agenda OTA has laid out over the past few years, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving fuel efficiency and developing an EOBR standard.
He’ll also strive to improve relations between shippers, carriers and 3PLs, Taylor said.
“I believe strongly that where third parties add value to the equation in terms of cartage services, warehousing or other value-added services, then everyone benefits,” he said. “Where the 3PL’s role is purely transactional, there simply isn’t enough profit in the system to warrant more fingers in the pie.” He is also concerned about “the lack of balance in many current contracts and the disrespect afforded the conditions of carriage by some shippers.”
The impending driver shortage will also be a priority for Taylor. He said the industry must find ways to recruit and retain quality people.
“At Liberty we have many long-term customers because we strive to give them more than they expect in terms of service and we accomplish this by hiring and training the best people available. We provide our drivers and other employees with the best equipment maintained to our exacting standards,” said Taylor. “We realize the value of great people. We commit to give them a safe, clean work environment where they will receive fair compensation, realistic assignments and recognition for good performance.”
Despite the challenges, Taylor is optimistic about where the industry is headed.
“For the industry as whole, I really think we have a great future. As the economy turns back up, I think there is a lot of opportunity for people and businesses in our field,” he said.
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