What are the main current challenges with security and how should they be dealt with??

It’s a question that will define the dealings of many carriers heading into 2004. Leading trucking executives offered their advice during the OTA’s recent CEO forum.

Here’s what they had to say:

George Ledson, Cavalier Transportation:Everybody who knows what’s going on is getting into the FAST program. But if your shippers are not in the FAST program, you’re nowhere. You have to get your customers to buy in. We are educating the shippers through notices and meetings. A lot of the shippers don’t even seem to know about this program yet. If you’re an LTL carrier with 10 shipments on your truck and nine of them are FAST approved and one of them is not, you will be sitting in the slow lane.

Stan Dunford, Laidlaw Carriers: You won’t have any drivers left if you are not FAST approved. If your guys are in line and they are being passed by guys in the FAST lane, they won’t have a future with your companyYou have to be in the face of the customer, explaining to him that with this driver shortage comes a responsibility on his behalf . If he wants to get his product to market, maintain market share and be sure the product is delivered in a financially sound way with the right kind of driver meeting hours of service he’s going to have to get on that program pretty quickly or he is going to lose the drivers that he’s got. The sales pitch on the shortage of drivers has to be set up at a level or two higher that it has been.

Rick Gaetz, Vitran Corp.: Obviously everyone buys into the fact that we need greater border security and easy trade between the two greatest trade partners in the world. At the end of the day it’s going to be a more secure system but it’s going to cost more. And you can not incur any costs without finding a way to pass them through to the customer from a pricing perspective not a surcharge perspective, customers don’t want to hear that. You can’t deny the additional costs; you’ve got to recover them.

Mark Seymour, Kriska Transportation: We know the impact of not being part of FAST. Our customers don’t and we have to deliver that message and create a punitive measure for those customers that don’t want to be part of FAST. We need to have trucks moving efficiently through the border and customers have to buy into that and the only way they will is if there is a punitive measure if they don’t.

Dan Einwechter, Challenger Motor Freight: Every body has to have the nerve to be able to go to their customers and say this is not our issue. This is your issue. Any customer who is not FAST approved, if I have to stop, I’m going to start charging immediately for additional stops in transit because it’s not our issue.

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