TORONTO, Ont. — Ontario truck crossing statistics issued earlier this week by the Public Border Operators Association (PBOA), shows that international truck traffic is down 5.6% in the first four months of 2008 compared to the same period last year. If the timeline comparison is extended to 2005 the decrease in international truck crossings is 8.4% which could translate into 900,000 fewer truck crossings in 2008 compared to 2005.
“Trucking activity is a leading economic indicator, and these numbers are yet another sign that the Ontario economy is going through a series of challenges that requires rethinking on the parts of all levels of government,” said Ontario Trucking Association president, David Bradley.
Trade with the US has been the cornerstone of economic growth for Ontario, with trucking hauling upwards of 75% of this trade measured by value.
“The removal of this many international trucking shipments from the supply chain is a reflection of many causes including a high Canadian dollar, slumping US economy and ongoing glut of border security programs,” Bradley said.
PBOA president Stan Korosec, also vice-president of operations for Blue Water Bridge Canada, agrees with Bradley. “Our members are also concerned about the thickening of the border,” he says. “We have been meeting with representatives of the Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection since the summer long delays experienced in 2007 and are pleased with their efforts to date to facilitate legitimate trade and tourism without affecting security. We hope that the Canadian government allocates the proper staffing and resources to the Canada Border Services Agency (so that similar delays are not experienced coming into Canada this summer).”
OTA has called on the Ontario and federal governments to assist the trucking industry by improving the tax treatment of its equipment, introducing incentives for the purchase of energy-efficient equipment and changes in regulatory language that would allow the industry to utilize more productive equipment.
“A more productive and energy efficient trucking industry is one part of the solution to helping revive the Ontario manufacturing sector,” Bradley said.
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