OTTAWA, Ont. — Sept. 7-13 marks National Trucking Week, a time to show appreciation to the people who keep this country’s wheels, and economy, moving.
David Bradley, head of the Ontario Trucking Association and Canadian Trucking Alliance started National Trucking Week in the late 1990s.
“It is most gratifying to see how the industry has embraced the idea and made it their own. What started as a simple idea in the late 1990s, NTW spotlights the contributions of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who keep the country’s freight moving, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, such as drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and anyone else who keeps our economy moving. Even in tough times NTW remained a fixture on the industry calendar and is still going strong,” Bradley says.
He said he’s hoping trucking companies and supplier and other stakeholders will step up their celebrations this year, since the industry as a whole seems to be performing well.
“This year, with the industry’s pulse beating stronger, I hope the celebrations will be bigger and better than ever,” says Bradley. “And you don’t have to stop there. Don’t be afraid to show and tell everyone in your community how great our people are. Invite your major, local MP or provincial legislative representative to your company event, host ride’n’drives, or take out an ad and write a letter to the editor at your local newspaper. By telling your story, you tell the story of the entire industry.”
The B.C. Trucking Association is doing just that. In an opinion piece written by president and CEO Louise Yako, the association is doing its part to celebrate drivers in Canada’s westernmost province.
“Professional truck drivers contribute daily to our comfort and well-being – more, in fact, than any other occupation,” Yako wrote. “Everything we use – our clothing, most of our food, the devices we rely on, the gasoline that powers our vehicles and buses (even your bicycle, if that’s your vehicle of choice) – came to us through the assistance of a professional truck driver. Tens of thousands of drivers deliver these goods safely and efficiently across B.C., Canada and North America without fail, and they deserve a tribute. We need them.”
However, she tempered that statement with a reminder that there are not enough professional drivers joining the industry.
“Driving a truck can be a satisfying and rewarding career, but it’s also tough. Professional truck drivers have to be flexible and tolerant enough to contend with hours of service regulations that stipulate how long to work and rest, the vagaries of weather and traffic, the demands and expectations of many different shippers, and ‘just in time’ scheduling that maximizes productivity (but not necessarily their needs, including family time),” Yako wrote.
She went on to write that one thing that should change in the industry is that the onus placed on some professional drivers to absorb the cost of delays over which they have no control, must be removed. Yako called for the redistribution of the safety burden, which would require shippers to be more publicly accountable for the trucking partners they choose.
“Shippers that look only for the lowest rates tend to contract with trucking companies that may cut safety corners. Instead of looking at rates and statistics for on-time deliveries only, shippers should ask questions about a trucking company’s safety programs, hiring and disciplinary practices, and deployment of technology to enhance safety practices, and generally educate themselves about all the underlying costs that contribute to a reasonable rate for transportation services,” Yako contends. “When crashes occur – which will happen regardless of how careful, prepared and safety-conscious trucking companies and professional drivers are – investigations regarding the cause need to extend beyond the trucking company involved to the customer.”
For its part, the Manitoba Trucking Association is celebrating the occasion by raising funds for a good cause.
Twelve teams from the Manitoba trucking industry will be competing today at 5 p.m. in the industry’s fifth annual Truck Pull for United Way. The pull is being held just prior to National Trucking Week to bring attention to the event.
Participants include Sysco Food Services, Big Freight Systems, Payne Transportation, Dr. Hook Towing Services, Bison Transport, Maxim Truck & Trailer, Cummins Western Canada, TransX, Freightliner Manitoba, Investors Group, Ryder Truck Rentals and Beaver Truck Centre.
“What better way to kick off National Trucking Week then by demonstrating Manitoba’s Trucking Industry’s commitment to giving back to the communities in which we operate,” says Laura La Palme, marketing and business development for the MTA.
Each team contributed $500 to take part in the challenge, with all proceeds going to the United Way.
How are you celebrating National Trucking Week? Let us know about it by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or reaching us on Twitter @TruckNewsMag.
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