Nova Brunswick has a nice ring to it, no?

HALIFAX — Taking a page from the West, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have inked an agreement that makes it easier to haul goods between each province by relaxing truck regulation barriers, among other trade breaks.

Similar to the Trade, Investment and Labor Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between B.C. and Alberta in 2007, the deal is intended to eliminate trade barriers for freer-flowing business and labor practices.

Under the plan, truckers would enjoy uniform size and weight regulations on certain combination units, including LCVs and oversize loads, which are currently being tested in both provinces.

Also, the deal calls for a single weight scale enforcement facility at the N.B.-N.S. border, eliminating the requirement for trucks hauling between the two jurisdictions to be weighed at Salisbury, N.B. and then again at Amherst, N.S. just an hour later.

The savings to trucking companies will be passed on to consumers, says Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have invited the other two Atlantic provinces to join in, but Newfoundland and P.E.I. are still weighing their options.

Trucking between N.B. and N.S. should get easier. But
does it leave the other Atlantic Provinces in the cold?

The Atlantic Province’s Trucking Association wasted little time in giving the plan a thumbs-up.

"We certainly like to hear that the two governments are going to standardize permit regulations for the LCVs as well as oversize loads. This will make it much easier to flow through both provinces when operating these vehicles," says APTA Executive Director Peter Nelson. "The LCV configuration when added into the mix of various van and flatdeck applications now available from our carriers will add to the versatility of the region’s road transport industry to meet the needs of shippers, producers and manufacturers."

The plan for a single enforcement station at the border does not lessen safety in any way, says Nelson, who adds it will save time and fuel.

Nelson also commented on the proposal to implement a bi-provincial weather warning system. “The enhanced 511 system for road reports harmonized between both provinces is a sound idea given the diversity of weather we have in Atlantic Canada."

However, some free-market critics who have long championed a fully nationalized transportation system worry that such agreements among a select group of provinces limit the ability to reach a cross-country consensus.

"Now you’ve got the TILMA in the West. You’ve got this here. We’ve got Ontario and Quebec talking about it," says Charles Cirtwell, executive vice-president of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. "These kind of bilateral things tend to make it more difficult to achieve national agreements."


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