Trucking a top performer in challenging year

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Despite facing a number of obstacles, a Transport Canada study reveals, truck transport was able to thrive in its cross-border operations.

“Pressure on Canada’s transportation system came from rapidly increasing energy prices, the impact of rapidly growing economies on Canada’s gateways and trade corridors, and the need to enhance transportation’s security,” stated Transport Canada Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Canada’s trucking sector observed increases in both import and export cross-border trade with the U.S. in 2005, according to Transport Canada’s recently released annual report Transportation in Canada 2005. Exports were recorded at $188.8 billion for the year, $2.1 billion more than in 2004; and import totals reached $164.5 billion, compared to $162.6 billion in 2004.

Five commodity groups accounted for 80 per cent of total exports and 88 per cent of total imports in 2004 and 2005: automobiles and transportation equipment, machinery and electrical equipment, other manufacturing products, plastics and chemical products, and base metals/articles of base metal.

The three busiest transborder trucking routes were all areas aligned with the Ontario-U.S. border and accounted for almost 80 per cent of shipments.

The five largest border crossings for trucks in 2005 were the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, 25.8 per cent; the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, 13.4 per cent; the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, 9.4 per cent; the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge in Niagara Falls, 7.2 per cent and the Lacolle land border crossing in Quebec, 5.7 per cent.

Heavy trucks crossing the Canada-U.S. border decreased about one per cent in 2005 to 13.3 million two way trips, which has been an ongoing trend since 2001.

The Transport Canada report did not provide updated price, productivity and financial performance data for the trucking industry, but did state in general that carriers’ operating costs were affected by sharp increases in energy prices in 2005, and that average price increases for most transportation services were well below inflation.

“This just goes to show how important trucking is to Canada’s economy,” said Canadian Trucking Alliance CEO David Bradley. “Sixty-three per cent of Canada’s trade with the US moves by truck. Border and highway infrastructure should be a major priority for federal and provincial governments.”

To see the report in full, visit

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