Reliable Goods Movement Magnet for Investment, says OTA

TORONTO — The “most important thing Ontario can do is implement economic, investment and tax policies that maintain and attract direct investment in the province’s goods production and retail sectors,” the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) said in its response to an Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) discussion paper entitled Building Competitiveness: A Proposed Multimodal Goods Movement Strategy for Ontario.

“This is pivotal,” OTA president David Bradley said. “Goods movement is a derived demand industry and we’ve seen a lot of production leave the province in recent years.” At the same time, he says an efficient, productive and reliable goods movement sector, which most often means trucks, “is a magnet for direct investment.”

Specifically, OTA said measures that the province should implement are:

  • expansion of the successful LCV program;
  • investment in rest stops that can accommodate trucks particularly in Northern Ontario;
  • skills development and training initiatives (such as mandatory entry level training and improved licence standards);
  • incentives for investment in sustainable goods movement through environmentally-friendly technologies like those introduced in other jurisdictions;
  • and the introduction of smart highways through the introduction of scale by-pass systems.

The OTA also pointed to a need to ensure faster clearance of highway incidents, particularly on the 400-series highways.

Border and trade efficiency is also a key area, OTA said, urging the province to to work with the federal government to ensure the measures contained in the Perimeter Vision Action Plan are implemented in a timely manner and that the rules governing things like repositioning movements of empty trailers in both Canada and the United States are modernized.

In terms of harmonization, OTA said the province needs to work closely with other provinces but also with neighboring US states, particularly on weights and dimensions regulations and perhaps even allowing LCVs to cross the border.

“One way to approach this may be to establish a regional freight policy body including MTO, OTA and members of government and industries from majoring US jurisdictions,” Bradley suggested.

Municipalities have an important role in enhancing or impeding efficient goods movement, too, OTA said. They cited the need to look at the Ontario road system as part of a provincial network, informed and modernized approaches to truck routes and roundabouts, and streamlining the process for obtaining special load permits.

The OTA also encouraged MTO to continue to keep consulting with industry stakeholders, and building its knowledge of trends in truck technology to better anticipate potential regulatory implications.

“We look forward to continuing to work with MTO on policies that will allow Ontario’s goods movement sector to excel,” said Bradley. “We are seeking active government partners to develop environmental, operational and financial policies and programs that offer benefits for the goods movement sector and the economy as a whole.”

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