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Will truckers repeat border blockade over fuel prices?

MONCTON, N.B. -- Almost three years ago, the nation's eyes were fixed on independent truckers' plight as they block...

MONCTON, N.B. — Almost three years ago, the nation’s eyes were fixed on independent truckers’ plight as they blocked the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border to protest the high cost of fuel.

Owner/operators lined up in unison to demand relief from those 70.9 cents per litre prices, an increase, they say, they alone were absorbing in the highly competitive transport industry.

Now that diesel’s set at 89.9 cents per litre, is a repeat blockade in the works?

Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association president Ralph Boyd says they just haven’t reached the breaking point yet.

“There’s always a period of ramping up, to a point where everything begins to fall off,” he says. “Companies right now are struggling, some to the point of bankruptcy.”

Boyd says his association’s regular weekly survey of fuel surcharges showed a percentage of the cost of freight. The average charge was at 11 per cent, and last Thursday, it shot up to 17 per cent.

“That’s in just one week,” Boyd said. “That shows how high it is.”

As a result, the price hike has a trickle-down effect on consumer goods being shipped by truck.

“The oil companies pass on the costs to us, and they’re expecting that we pass those on to the consumer,” he says.

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