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Matt Silver looks to simplify cross-border shipping
Trucking News

When it comes to moving freight across borders, especially between the United States and Mexico, calling it challenging would be an understatement. Forager Logistics CEO and co-founder Matt Silver has made it his mission to bring calm to the chaos involved in cross-border shipping.

Silver explains how he solves shippers’ problems with FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller as part of the FreightWavesTV show “Fuller Speed Ahead.”

“Forager is a cross-border and drayage-focused platform that’s building technology to try to automate as much as possible within the entire supply-chain ecosystem,” Silver said.

Forager is a cross-border freight brokerage based in Chicago. The company is primarily focused on the cross-border trucking market between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. According to Silver, it’s a $20 billion industry.

While the headlines are focused on trade wars between the U.S. and China, Fuller noted, it’s easy to forget that the United States’ largest trading partners are its neighbors, Canada and Mexico.

Although geographically connected to the U.S., carriers can face many barriers when hauling goods north and south of the border, not including the border wall.

“With Mexico specifically, there are anywhere between five and eight different parties involved in a single shipment,” said Silver. “You’ve got the U.S. and Mexico trucking companies, the border transfer guy, a warehouse potentially where you’re going to cross-dock it, a U.S.-Mexico customs broker, plus the shipper and receiver on top of it and two different languages. Putting all that stuff together takes a whole village to move a load across the border.”

Silver wants to automate the entire process to ensure businesses their freight gets from A to B on time with no worries. But on top of the regulatory pressures that come from cross-border shipping, one can’t help but worry about the safety of the cargo. Areas south of the border are notorious for cargo theft, but Silver noted that his company is no stranger to the risk and said Forager provides the proper security requirements for its customers’ loads.

“We have insurance for all the freight in Mexico, which most people don’t have, so we’re adding that separate layer on top of the security piece to ensure it even if there is an issue,” Silver said.

Forager Logistics is the result of Silver’s passion for cross-border freight. His fascination with the industry began while building Mexican sales strategies for Coyote Logistics LLC, the freight brokerage founded by his parents, Jeff and Marianne Silver.

Growing up the son of the industry experts, freight wasn’t an interest to Silver at an early age.

“When I was growing up, people always asked me what my parents did for a living, and I always said it was something with trucks. I had no idea what it was. I know I played with toy trucks as a little kid,” said Silver.

But that quickly changed for Silver as he learned the ins and outs of freight brokering from his parents. After a successful tenure with Coyote, Silver decided to take on a new challenge.

“When I left Coyote, my thought was to go work for a technology company that was kind of in the logistics space but not directly involved in it,” Silver said.

He looked for a company that combined technology with freight logistics but was ultimately persuaded to start his own, which he did this year.

“I like to say that we’re a technology company that happens to be phenomenal at moving freight,” Silver said.

Although Forager’s doors just opened, Silver said the company’s leaders have years of experience. His team has collective backgrounds with Coyote Logistics, Amazon, Uber and Apple, just to name a few.

“At the end of the day, we have the logistics DNA,” Silver said. “We’ve lived it and breathed it, we understand how it works. I try to put myself in my customers’ shoes to understand what they need.”

Silver was born into freight logistics and looks to continue his family’s legacy with his cross-border freight brokerage.

“I’m very proud to be a part of the industry, trying to do something a little bit different, but at the same time, there’s not anyone I learned more from than my parents in terms of how to grow a successful business, how to scale it and how to create the right culture,” Silver said.

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Vote on Thunder Bay Truck Route Delayed Until Dec
Trucking News

Thunder Bay City Council postponed a vote set this week on new revisions to the proposed truck route bylaw – a move OTA continues to raise serious questions about.

OTA’s Jonathan Blackham was prepared to address Council and the new specific revisions to the by-law, but was denied from doing so by City Staff, which cited information by OTA had already been raised with Council in previous meetings in the summer.  However, the proposed revisions to the bylaw that OTA was to comment  on were drafted September 23, 2019 with no opportunity for consultation provided.

The vote has now been pushed to a future date, but no later than December 2, 2019.

“Being denied the opportunity to address new legitimate issues with Council is absurd since the bylaw is in direct conflict with the Highway Traffic Act and ignores that truck drivers, as a course of business, must follow hours-of service-regulations,” said Jonathan Blackham OTA Director, Public Policy and Affairs.

Specifically, revisions to the bylaw included a provision for the change in definition of ‘driver’, so tickets can also be issued to the owner of the vehicle or the trucking company. This proposed change, runs counter to several sections of the Highway Traffic Act that prohibits tickets being issued to companies for the sole actions of a driver.  Included would be holding a company accountable for a driver disobeying an official sign which is the charge typically applied with respect to truck routes.

In addition, the definition of ‘conduct of business’ was added to allow drivers and trucks to continue deliveries in Thunder Bay without having to revert back to the designated truck route after each delivery, before proceeding to the next stop.  Drivers in the course of conducting business as defined would be exempt from the bylaw. What is missing from the Conduct of Business, however, was an acknowledgement that truck drivers must follow the hours of service regulations and are required to take daily and weekly off-duty periods, which means access to truck parking is critical.

“Consistency between provincial and municipal language with respect to truck routes is important, as is the acknowledgement that municipalities have an obligation to support drivers and the industry from a road safety perspective. The current language in the bylaw ignores these basics,” said Blackham.

OTA will continue to be engaged in this process and will attend the next round of meetings when they are scheduled.

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Volvo Makes Substantial Headway in the Canadian Trucking Market
Trucking News
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Protect immigration, but crack down on non-compliance: CTA
Trucking News

TORONTO, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is advocating for steps to better protect immigrant truck drivers, following a Globe and Mail investigation into the way immigration consultants and non-compliant fleets are exploiting foreign job seekers.

The report uncovered trucking companies that are cleared to hire newcomers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, even in cases where the carriers have a history of multiple-injury accidents and safety violations.

While the Canadian Trucking Alliance didn’t specifically name the Globe article, it released an extensive statement that separates the broader trucking industry from “non-compliant carriers” – and stresses the importance of immigration programs.

“The answer is not to stop federal/provincial immigration programs. There are too many commercial drivers going through various programs that are employed by legally compliant and ethically responsible carriers who are facing a driver shortage,” the alliance statement reads.

“The reality is that Canadian demographic rates can no longer sustain our economy – 71% of our population growth and over 90% of labor market growth is due to immigration. As the dominant freight mode and the backbone of Canada’s economy, the trucking and logistics sector has, worryingly, one of the highest job vacancy rates at 6.6%. Currently there are more than 20,000 unfilled truck driver positions in Canada – more than double the vacancies just three years ago, in 2016. If the trucks don’t keep moving, the economy will simply grind to a halt.”

The same companies that flout health and safety, environmental, and equipment maintenance rules are the ones that are abusing drivers, CTA says.

“CTA believes we must change the enforcement dialogue to address such carriers. Work is ongoing with various levels of governments to bring about this change – but change cannot come fast enough for the CTA membership and, no doubt, the Canadian public who share the road with these fleets that show a complete disregard for public safety and the human dignity of the hard-working immigrants looking to make a better life in Canada.”

Existing immigration programs should ensure participating companies comply have standards governing training, environmental, equipment, and health and safety issues, it says.

“It’s far too easy to start a trucking company in Canada. And once in the sector, it’s hardly complicated for these unscrupulous carriers to coast under the regulatory radar and avoid enforcement and sanctions.”

The alliance says effective changes across Canada will require “political fortitude” from all levels of government.

The CTA also continued its call for the misclassification of employees as contractors, in a business practice known as Driver Inc.


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Registration opens for YLG Driven to Lead program
Trucking News

MILTON, Ont. – The Young Leaders Group of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada has announced that it will offer the Driven to Lead education program again in 2020.

The first Driven to Lead program this year attracted more than 20 people, with 12 of them graduating in May.

KRTS Transportation Specialists and TransRep will be the main sponsors for a second year, the YLG said Monday.

The program will take participants through hands-on and impactful exercises focusing on topics such as culture, teamwork, accountability and strategy, it said.

The deadline for registration is Feb. 1, 200. For more details, click here.

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Fuel tax increase goes into effect in Arkansas tomorrow
Trucking News

Both gas and diesel fuel taxes are going up October 1

Arkansas Fuel Tax Increase

Drivers fueling up in Arkansas can expect to pay more at the pump thanks to a fuel tax increase that goes into effect this week.

Starting on Tuesday, October 1, taxes on both gasoline and diesel fuel will be increasing throughout the state of Arkansas.

The diesel fuel tax will increase 6 cents to 28.5 cents per gallon. The gasoline tax will also increase by 3 cents to 24.5 cents per gallon.

The fuel tax increases are part of a $95 million highway funding bill signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson in March 2019.

Money raised by the fuel tax increases will go towards maintaining roads and bridges, and not towards new construction projects, the Arkansas Department of Transportation says.

The same bill that increased fuel taxes will also increase the registration fee for electric vehicles by $200.

This is the first fuel tax increase in the state of Arkansas in 20 years.

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It’s time for drivers to ‘Shift into Winter’
Trucking News

RICHMOND, B.C. – Drivers will again be “Shifting into Winter” in B.C. and across Canada in the coming weeks, and for the 11th year, WorkSafeBC wants to remind truckers to be prepared before hitting the road.

Trina Pollard, manager of industry and labor services – transportation and occupational road safety for WorkSafeBC, outlined for Truck News-West three key steps drivers in B.C. and across the country should be doing before driving on winter roads, with preparation being a point of emphasis.

“Heavy trucks are required to carry chains on designated highways in B.C. between Oct. 1 and April 30,” explained Pollard, saying heavy trucks are defined as those 11,794 kg and over. “Commercial vehicle drivers must know when they are required to install chains or other approved traction devices, how to properly install these devices, and where the chain-up/pull-out locations and fuel stops are on their routes.”

Fines for not carrying chains or using them when required by law increase Oct. 1 in B.C. Drivers will face a $196 fine for not carrying chains during mandatory times, and a $598 fine will be imposed for not installing chains during required chain ups. Base-level fines during previous winters were $121 for not carrying chains or failing to install them when they were required.

Pollard also said drivers should be proactive when it comes to checking road and weather conditions along their planned route, advising drivers to check www.drivebc.ca prior to departure.

“If possible, drivers should monitor road and weather conditions and delay travel until conditions improve,” she said.

Finally, it’s important for truckers to drive according to conditions, and slow down when necessary.

WorkSafeBC’s Shift into Winter campaign is a joint provincial effort led by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, which is made up of approximately 20 organizations all committed to improving safe winter driving behaviors and practices in B.C.

“The Shift into Winter campaign is designed to raise awareness of the changing weather and driving conditions across the province and how motorists and employers need to be prepared,” said Pollard, adding that for those who drive for work, the months of November, December, and January are the most dangerous. “From 2014 to 2018, almost a third of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time-loss claims occur during these three months.”

WorkSafeBC aims to provide education, resources, consultation, and enforcement to help keep drivers safe on provincial roads.

“Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees who drive for work,” said Pollard, “regardless of whether they drive a company-owned or personal vehicle.”

The Shift into Winter campaign provides various resources, such as a winter driving safety online course for employers and supervisors, as well as an employer toolkit that includes a policy and procedures template.

Drivers can access information on how to prepare their vehicle and themselves for winter driving, and take on online quiz to test their knowledge.
Carriers and drivers will see additional resources at www.shiftintowinter.ca to prepare for winter, including Winterizing Your Safety Plan: Information for Commercial Carriers, How to Install Chains, and Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers.

“Driving, whether you are professional or not, is hazardous,” said Pollard. “Winter conditions can increase the risks drivers face behind the wheel. Preventing work-related vehicle crashes is smart business – it saves lives and avoids serious injuries, property damage, downtime, and lost productivity, particularly during the higher risk winter months.”

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Big HR tips for small fleets
Trucking News

No matter the size of the company, a business cannot thrive without a team of reliable, competent, well-managed people.

And smaller companies face more challenges in this regard.

Small business owners often have a strong understanding of their industry but not necessarily how to manage people, or they take on responsibilities that span various management roles.

Under these circumstances, it’s hard for small businesses to give human resources the attention it needs.

This is especially true in trucking and logistics. According to Trucking HR Canada’s labor market survey, the vast majority of trucking companies in Canada have fewer than 20 employees.

Clearly, with so many small carriers in the industry, there’s a need for HR guidance and support.

We are here to help. Let’s take a look at some tips for small fleets:

  1. Know the law

No small business owner can be aware of every employment and Canada Labour Code rules. But they should at a minimum be familiar with the big ones.

Whether you’re provincially or federally regulated impacts which laws you need to comply with, and knowing the difference will matter.

For instance, federally regulated companies are affected by many new Canada Labour Code changes. We are working to support employers in this regard, and subscribing to our newsletter will help keep you in the know.

  1. Document your HR policies and approaches

Put your HR policies and approaches in writing.

This can be in the form of an employee handbook or a policy manual. Regardless, it’s important to clearly state the standards of behavior in your organization and how things should be done.

Well-written guidelines and policies provide a basis for resolving problems fairly and consistently. They can also serve to keep your workplace practices in compliance with employment and labor standards.

  1. Onboard effectively

Getting off to a good start means you should have an onboarding program for all new hires, no matter the size of your company. This is particularly important for your drivers.

Your onboarding program gives you the opportunity to review your handbook or organizational policies and clarify things like how and when people will get paid; your culture, goals and business objectives; and your performance expectations.

These are all important factors that will support a positive work environment where employees know what they can expect from you and what you expect from them in return.

  1. Consider outsourcing

With you and your employees likely wearing many hats, consider outsourcing your HR functions. There are a variety of payroll services, HR software platforms, or HR consulting firms that can help. And, when it comes to employment and labor standards, you may even consider the services of an employment lawyer.

Outsourcing gives you access to the professional services you need when you need them, while also managing risk, and allowing you to focus on other aspects of the business.

  1. Learn from others

Clearly, there are many companies out there like you! And there are ample opportunities for networking. From local transportation clubs to provincial and national associations, find a group that works for you and use these opportunities to learn from others.

And don’t discount the larger trucking and logistics industry association events that you may think are more suited for larger companies.

I have heard from many small fleet owners about the learning and business benefits they get from attending and being a part of these groups.

  1. Highlight your unique offerings

Small companies have unique qualities that make them stand out from the competition.

Do you have a welcoming, family-friendly work environment? Do you offer profit sharing or unique revenue-sharing approaches? Do you have regular routes, or flexible work arrangements?

Small fleets often don’t recognize the various things they do that make them attractive. Talk to current employees and find out what keeps them with you, and highlight this in your recruitment efforts.

Overall, remember that effective HR approaches are important for businesses of all sizes. Make sure they become a key part of your business strategy, then watch your business grow.

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Zero-emission “last-mile“ deliveries come to Montréal
Trucking News
Cargo bikes participating in Colibri, Montreal’s eco-friendly urban delivery project.

Pilot project will reduce heavy truck traffic by offloading deliveries to smaller electric vehicles

Parcel deliveries might look at a bit different in Montréal, as the city invests in a scheme already common in many European cities to cut down on the number of trucks entering the downtown core.

The one-year pilot project, called Colibri, officially launched on Sept. 12 after being announced in June. Designed to reduce the congestion and pollution impacts of “last mile“ deliveries, it will see large transport vehicles unload packages at a former bus station between Berri and St-Hubert streets. From there, electric cargo bikes and other zero-emission vehicles will drop off the packages throughout the city.

Greener and safer

“I’m excited about this innovative new project supported by partners interested in testing tomorrow’s more environmentally friendly delivery solutions,“ says Valérie Plante, mayor of Montréal and the Arrondissement de Ville-Marie. “The Colibri project will not only support our city’s shift to a greener future, but also help improve the safety of road users by limiting the number of trucks in the city centre.“

The city has budgeted $100,000 for the pilot. Joining it is Purolator, as well as bike couriers Chasseurs Courrier, Courant Plus, La roue libre and LVM Livraison. The city hopes their initiative will inspire others to take charge as retail habits change and grow.

“The development of green technologies and the growth of online retail are spawning new delivery solutions,“ says Robert Beaudry, district councillor for Saint-Jacques and head of economic and commercial development on the city’s executive committee.

Montréal isn’t the only Canadian community to try this kind of project. Peel Region in Ontario ran an off-peak delivery service pilot from for six months in 2018, followed by a second phase this year that ended in August. (That concept doesn’t necessarily replace trucks but keeps them off the road when other traffic is heaviest.)

$183-million LC3 initiative

Programs to offset urban trucking emissions were also cited in the menu of potential transportation solutions that accompanied the launch of the federal government’s $183-million Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) initiative in March. To date, none of the seven urban areas receiving funding under the program — greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa, metropolitan Montréal and the Halifax region — have revealed specific plans.

In time, the private sector is also expected to step in this area. In Quebec, for example, IGA grocery stores introduced a zero-emission home-delivery vehicle in 2018. And in Vancouver, a cooperative called Shift Delivery has been marketing its fleet of cargo tricycles as a zero-emission last-mile delivery service since 2012.

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Kriska buys Trailwood Transport, Nexus
Trucking News

PRESCOTT, Ont. – Kriska Transportation Group (KTG) has acquired Trailwood Transport and Nexus Freight, both operating out of Alliston, Ont.

The two fleets will continue to be led by general manager Lorie Thompson and their current management teams. Former Trailwood owner Mark Beckstead will represent the company going forward, with a focus on maintaining key customer relationships and growth, Kriska said in a release.

“Trailwood and Nexus are great strategic fits with the Kriska Transportation Group,” said Kriska CEO, Mark Seymour. “Their culture and results are a welcome addition to the KTG family. Trailwood’s expertise in the automotive industry brings further diversification to our industry mix. The addition of Nexus gives us the local capacity to help supplement our current network needs. We expect to find many synergies and opportunities to help both businesses grow profitably.”

“Becoming part of KTG offers Trailwood and Nexus the opportunity to lower our cost base, bring long-term stability to our business and collaborate with other transportation professionals in the KTG family,” added Beckstead. “We’re excited to be part of a group that values our brand strength and who are like-minded as it relates to trucking.”

Trailwood was founded in 1984 as a family-run transportation company offering domestic and cross-border truckload services, specializing in the automotive industry. It runs 112 power units and 385 dry van trailers.

Nexus Freight is a local cartage carrier, servicing Southern Ontario with both 53-ft. dry vans as well as a small fleet of straight trucks. It operates 20 power units and 12 trailers.

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Province, feds promise action after claims trucking companies are making money
Trucking News

Following a bombshell investigation by the Globe and Mail, the trucking industry will be scrutinized by both the federal government and the province.

The reporting raises serious safety concerns about inexperienced drivers and the exploitation of foreign workers. The Globe details how trucking companies, working with immigration consultants, took cash payoffs from foreign recruits, then put those newcomers behind the wheels of big trucks on dangerous Canadian roads, with no experience and no training.

People are dying, but the government keeps handing out temporary foreign worker permits to trucking companies with serious violations on their records including the exploitation of workers.

“This isn’t something that’s new to the industry,” Shelley Uvanile-Hesche, the CEO of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, says of the claims. “Drivers have been aware of that for quite some time.”

She stresses the importance of experience behind the wheel on Canadian roads and says new drivers are too often put on the roads without adequate training and education.

“The fact that we have drivers that can’t read or write English or French — our two main languages — is another area of concern,” Uvanile-Hesche tells NEWS 1130. “I don’t believe that that boils down to racism, that boils down to public safety.”

The Globe and Mail has outlined the risks these trucking companies are subjecting people and drivers to.

“You have to remember, in most cases, a driver is responsible for 80,000 lbs minimum, is the payload usually in the trailer,” Uvanile-Hesche explains. Throw that load in with speed, dangerous curves, bends, and hills, she says anyone without the proper experience won’t be able to safely stay on the road.

In Ontario, there is mandatory entry-level training for truck drivers. While she admits it’s not perfect, Uvanile-Hesche hopes it’ll be the start of improving driver training and requirements.

The federal department in charge of the foreign worker program has said it will look into all allegation of abuse, but it’s the provinces that are responsible for training and safety standards in that industry.

B.C.’s transportation minister, Claire Trevena, says the province is working on mandatory minimum training, which most other provinces already have. She’s also promised to conduct a sweeping review of the industry.

It was just last year that 16 people were killed and 13 others were hurt in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan. In April of 2018, an inexperienced trucker blew through a stop sign, into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus at a rural intersection. The driver was sentenced to eight years in prison for 29 counts of dangerous driving causing death or bodily harm.

Since the crash, there have been a number of calls for safety measures to be enforced in the trucking industry, as well as on buses.

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Exposé of immigration scheme in Canadian trucking prompts warning from fe
Trucking News
Government says employers who abuse the foreign worker program face “serious consequences” after a newspaper reveals how some carriers exploited under-qualified job-seekers and put them on the road.



A double-trailer on the road in Quebec, Canada

The Canadian government said any employer found to break the rules of a temporary worker program would face “serious consequences” after an investigation by The Globe and Mail exposed a scheme that saw trucking companies with poor safety records luring inexperienced foreign workers into driver careers.

Canada’s second-largest newspaper found that some trucking companies and immigration consultants were exploiting job-seekers through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which allows companies to temporarily fill vacancies from outside the country when the jobs can’t be filled. The investigation revealed an array of allegations such as payments for jobs. 

“Any employer found to have violated the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will face serious consequences,”  Isabelle Maheu, a spokesperson for the program’s administrator, Employment and Social Development Canada, wrote in an email on October 8. 

Maheu would not say whether Employment and Social Development Canada was investigating any employers mentioned in The Globe and Mail’s report. But she wrote that allegations of misuse are being investigated.

“The Government of Canada takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as well as the safety and welfare of temporary foreign workers, and does not tolerate any abuse or misuse of workers,” Maheu wrote.

Trucking companies across Canada frequently struggle to fill driver positions. Statistics Canada reported more than 20,000 vacancies in trucking during the second quarter of 2019, a number that has been increasing in recent years.

But within the industry, there is growing anger about employers who cut corners to fill trucks and improve their operating margins. 

“The article put the final piece of the puzzle together,” said Wendell Erb, CEO of Erb Group, an Ontario-based trucking company that specializes in refrigerated transport. 

The Canadian Trucking Alliance responded to the Globe’s report, saying it was “embarrassed by the actions of a small element of our sector.” 

The organization, which represents carriers across Canada,  called on improved oversight by federal and provincial authorities and also singled out a practice known as “Driver Inc.” where drivers are intentionally misclassified as independent contractors to avoid tax withholding.

The organization also stressed the importance of immigration programs that help fill trucks and other positions in the industry.

“It’s imperative our valued new immigrants end up with the majority of compliant, responsible fleets operating in Canada,” the organization wrote in a statement

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ATA prepares to fight outsized legal awards against truckers
Trucking News

Marijuana legalization presents next costly legal threat to trucking



Truck drivers are blamed for more highway accidents than they cause, a case the American Trucking Associations plans to press against trial lawyers.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is gearing up to fight against multimillion-dollar legal awards against truckers and their employers who are not at fault but blamed in many car-truck crashes.

“We’re fed up,” ATA President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Spear told members October 7 at the association’s Management Conference & Exhibition in San Diego. “I’m sick of playing defense while trial lawyers buy jets and yachts at the expense of trucking jobs. These ‘nuclear’ verdicts are strangling our industry.”

Two-thirds of the accidents involving trucks are caused by passenger vehicles, Spear said.

“If a car going the opposite direction veers out of control, crosses the median and crashes into a truck going 25 mph below the speed limit and is brought to a controlled stop after the collision, you shouldn’t have to pay $90 million for a tragedy your driver didn’t cause!”

Yet the number of trucking fatalities through 2017 was a 29-year high, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Speeding and failure to wear seat belts contributed to deaths in many of the crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The legalization of marijuana in 11 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada could be the next cudgel used against truckers, Spear said.

“You can just see the trial lawyers – sitting on the edge of their high, wing-back leather chairs – drooling over the thought of more legal ambiguity,” Spear said in his speech. “We can’t just sit back and hand them yet another opportunity to litigate our industry.”

The association scheduled the initial meeting of its Controlled Substances, Health and Wellness Subcommittee during the convention. The goal, Spear said, is creating a trucking-led policy platform that helps lawmakers and regulators make informed decisions about the impact of substance abuse on safety and interstate commerce.

The ATA also will continue to press federal agencies to allow hair follicle testing in place of urine testing for drug use and have those results included in the FMCSA’s commercial driver’s license Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that begins operating in January 2020. The database will contain information on violations of the controlled substances and alcohol testing program.

The U.S. trucking industry spends more than $10 billion each year on safety, including technology, training and compliance “all part of a concerted effort to save lives, not our bottom line,” Spear said.

Trucking employment exceeds 7.8 million people or one in 16 jobs in the U.S. Trucks move more than 71% of domestic freight.



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APTA meeting to discuss emerging technologies
Trucking News

HALIFAX, N.S. – The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) opens its annual conference here today, but delegates can relax – there will be no speeches on the perennial problem of the driver shortage, or on the ELDs.

That is according to Jean-Marc Picard, executive director of the APTA, who said the association has had enough discussions on those issues over the past few years.

“The driver shortage, we beat that one to death. I don’t even want to talk about that,” Picard told Truck News, adding that it is the same with the ELDs.

The two-day conference, instead, will focus on emerging technologies.

Yves Provencher, senior manager for business development at the Lion Electric Co., will present the Future of the Electric Truck.

Another key speaker is Brian DePratto, senior economist at TD commercial banking. He will provide the economic and industry outlook, while the Canadian Trucking Association will offer its take on the federal regulatory affairs.

Senior provincial and city leaders are also expected to attend.

Motivational speaker Nick Bontis will wrap up the conference with the keynote address on changes in the workplace.

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DOT’s Chao refutes allegations in ethics probe
Trucking News

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao

The Department of Transportation has responded to an ethics probe brought by the House’s Oversight Committee by saying allegations that Secretary Elaine Chao has abused her role as the DOT’s boss are untrue.

Specifically, the Sept. 30 letter calls allegations that Chao has used her position at the DOT to benefit her family’s maritime shipping company as “simply false,” chalking the accusations up in part to misunderstandings about her family and their relationship.

“The web of innuendo and the baseless inferences contained in these [allegations] demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of…cultural values [that] are central to East Asian culture and families.” Chao is Taiwanese, and her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12.

The letter was sent by Adam Sullivan, DOT’s assistant secretary, to leaders of the House’s Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee last month announced it had opened an investigation into the allegations that Chao violated ethical standards by arranging meetings between Chinese officials and her father and sister, who own the shipping company the Foremost Group, and that she took steps to cut funding for programs that prioritize American-flagged vessels over foreign-flagged vessels, such as those operated by Foremost. The House’s Oversight Committee also is investigating whether Chao properly divested from a holdings company that secures road contracts from DOT.

The investigations were prompted by reports by The New York Times and Politico detailing the claims earlier this year.

“The allegation that the Secretary has advocated to deprioritize or reduce funding for DOT programs that benefit U.S.-flagged vessels in foreign trade is not only baseless, but in fact the opposite is true,” Sullivan writes in this letter. “Secretary Chao has been one of the nation’s strongest advocates for the U.S.-flagged maritime industry.”

Relative to the claims that Chao did not properly divest from Vulcan Materials, Sullivan argues that both the Office of Government Ethics and the DOT’s  Designated Agency Ethics Officials reviewed Chao’s holdings in the company and found no conflicts of interest. When the reports surfaced earlier this year about questions around those holdings, she sold her stake in Vulcan, Sullivan says.

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Tanker overturns in Quebec City, spilling a river of milk
Trucking News

A tanker truck hauling milk tipped on its side while the driver navigated a curve in Quebec City early this morning.

It's not clear exactly how much milk spilled, but it looks like a lot.

Images captured at the scene displayed what appeared to be a river of milk, staining a large swath of pavement white as morning traffic backed up on nearby streets.

The incident happened at around 5:30 a.m on Soumande Street near Hubert Street in front of a Super C grocery store.

The driver was not injured but was transported to hospital as a precautionary measure, police say.

How the truck ended up on its side is still under investigation.

A small crane was used to get the truck back up on its wheels and the tanker has since been removed.

Quebec City police say the public works department was called in to clean the mess.

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5 missing children found safe, Niagara police say
Trucking News

Father found in Ridgeway, Ont., children in nearby rental cottage

Niagara Regional Police say that the five children missing from Jordan, Ont., have been found and are safe. 

Their father was at police headquarters Wednesday and has not been charged with anything.

The children were the subject of an Amber Alert issued late Tuesday afternoon and, as a result, police were told the father had been seen driving a red Toyota Camry in the region. 

Police said that around 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, detectives from the child abuse unit were able to track the car down and began surveillance at a residence in Ridgeway, Ont., near Fort Erie. where the vehicle was parked. 

Officers say they located and stopped the father and a 22-year-old woman around the Crystal Beach area. Police then found the missing children in a nearby rental cottage.

Police say the children appear to be in good health and are being cared for, but will receive medical assessments. 

The investigation remains ongoing. 

In a video posted to Twitter, police thanked members of the public in Niagara and across the province for being vigilant.

"The information that led us to that Camry is directly related to the Amber Alert," said Const. Phil Gavin. "It's important to note that the system did work and it's brought a peaceful resolution to the situation"

Investigators alleged that the children were taken from their home in Jordan, a community in the Niagara region, sometime between Sept. 19 and 25. 

The children were under a temporary custody order "through the courts," according to police.

The Amber Alert was cancelled after it reached its five-hour expiry period. 

CBC reporter Ellen Mauro spoke with the father at Niagara police headquarters, who said that the whole situation was "blown out of proportion" and that the children were on vacation with family.

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Dancehall artist known as Louie Rankin dies in car crash in Canada at 66
Trucking News
This Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 photo, released by the Ontario Provincial Police, shows the a  smashed up vehicle involved in a fatal crash with transport truck near Shelburne, Ontario. Canadian police say the Jamaican dancehall reggae artist and actor known as Louie Rankin died Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, in the car crash involving a transport truck.

TORONTO — Jamaican dancehall reggae artist and actor Louie Rankin, known for his 1992 hit "Typewriter," died in a car crash involving a transport truck in Canada, police said Tuesday. He was 66.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Shannon Gordanier confirmed that the person who died in the Monday morning collision was Leonard Ford, better known as Louie Rankin.

Rankin died at the scene of the accident on Highway 89 in Ontario and the driver of the transport truck suffered no physical injuries, police said. Police photos show a mangled vehicle and a truck along the side of a highway.

In 1992, Rankin released his album "Showdown" that featured the hit "Typewriter." He was nicknamed the "Original Don Dada."

He starred in the 1998 movie "Belly" alongside rappers Nas and DMX, playing the character Ox.

Sidiki Morrison, who identified himself as Rankin's manager and producer and is also known as Bizmo iBoss, said Rankin was a legend in his native Jamaica.

Rankin recently announced on Instagram that he was shooting a movie in Toronto with Morrison's company, iHouse Records.

Rankin appeared in DJ Khaled's 2016 music video for his song "Nas Album Done.


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Canadian carriers need to prepare for U.S. Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
Trucking News
Chris Wilkinson DriverCheck PMTC

Chris Wilkinson.

EDMONTON, Alta. – Canadian carriers operating south of the border need to be ready for the U.S. Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse program.

Chris Wilkinson, program consultant for DriverCheck, said though the new regulation is being implemented in the U.S., carriers and drivers operating cross-border will be impacted.

In a nutshell, the Clearinghouse will provide access to information about drivers with violations on their record, and ensure they complete the necessary steps before getting back behind the wheel or performing any safety-sensitive functions in the workplace.

The Clearinghouse is an online database containing commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol violations, as well as return-to-work documentation. Employers will be required to report and query information in the database starting Jan. 6, 2020 when looking to hire new drivers. In 2023, once three years of violation data has been accumulated, employers will no longer be required to request driver information from previous employers, with the exception of those who have not completed all follow-up tests.

Wilkinson said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognized a gap in driver oversight back in 1999 with drivers not reporting infractions when job-hopping. The Clearinghouse is intended to improve compliance when it comes to drug and alcohol use and testing requirements.

“It’s a tracking tool, it’s a discovery tool, and it’s going to benefit you in the long run,” Wilkinson said during the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada’s Western Educational Seminar today in Edmonton, Alta.

Employers, third-party administrators (TPA), substance abuse professionals (SAP), and medical review officers (MRO) will all be responsible for reporting driver information to the Clearinghouse.

MROs must report positive, adulterated, or substituted drug test results within two business days. Employers must report positive alcohol, knowledge violations, and negative return-to-work tests, and successful completion of all follow-up tests. SAPs are required to submit driver IDs and the date of initial assessment, and the driver’s successful completion of treatment and eligibility for return-to-work. And TPAs must report as if they were the employer.

The Clearinghouse requires all positive drug and alcohol results, substituted and adulterated tests, refusals, negative return-to-work tests, knowledge violations, date of initial assessment, follow-up test completion, and successful completion of treatment.

Owner-operators must use a TPA to report to the Clearinghouse.

Employers, third-party administrators, drivers, state authorities, the National Transportation Board, and FMCSA will all have access to the Clearinghouse.

Drivers will be notified by FMCSA when information about them is revised, entered, or removed, and when it is released to an employer.

Not all drivers will need to register with the Clearinghouse. Those who remain with one employer will not be required to register, but any driver seeking employment or wanting to view their record will need to sign up.

Driver profiles will include a limited as well as full query. Limited queries will indicate if a red flag is attached to a driver’s profile and need only general consent from the driver to be accessed, but will require specific consent by the driver for employers to view their full query.

“As soon as you get that flag, you have 24 hours to get that full consent,” said Wilkinson.

To prepare for the Clearinghouse, Wilkinson said employers should update their drug and alcohol policy, prepare internal and external reporting protocols, consent forms, and training for employees. Carriers should also register on the Clearinghouse, assign staff to work in the Clearinghouse, and purchase a querying plan in the Clearinghouse.

Pending the success of the Clearinghouse, the FMCSA may expand the program to include additional agencies.

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Mexico reaches new record for truck production, exports during July
Trucking News

Mexican truck makers say Mexico's new clean diesel rules hurting economy


 

Mexico’s national association of heavy duty truck and bus manufacturers (ANPACT), reported the manufacture of commercial trucks grew 6% in July, producing 20,006 units, when compared against 18,863 units in July 2018.

Exports of trucks also increased 11.2% in July, with Mexican manufacturers sending 18,140 units abroad. For the first seven months of 2019, export of Mexican-made trucks increased 26.12%, compared to 2018.

Truck and bus makers with major plants in Mexico include Navistar International, Kenworth, Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Volkswagen, Volvo and Daimler. Officials with ANPACT said more than 95% of truck exports are destined for the United States and Canada.

“Motor transport is a strategic sector in Mexico – it generates more than 2 million jobs and contributes more than 6% of gross domestic product,” according to a statement from Miguel Elizalde, president of Mexico City-based ANPACT, the country’s truck and bus manufacturing chamber.

During the first seven months of the year, 124,220 heavy-duty vehicles were manufactured, an increase of 30.47% compared to the 95,209 units produced during the same period last year, according to ANPACT.

Officials with ANPACT said 2019 is shaping up to be the best year for exports of Mexican-made trucks since 2015, when 117,239 units were produced.

Elizalde said while exports of Mexican-made trucks remain positive, Mexico’s domestic truck market is faltering.

“Although the accumulated figures are favorable, the production figures – have begun to be affected by the drop in sales in the domestic market,” Elizalde said in a release.

Domestic sales of heavy-duty commercial trucks during August fell 61.2% to 1,668 units, compared with 4,301 units sold during August 2018, according to ANPACT.

“The fall of the local market is mainly due to uncertainty regarding the availability of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD), which is inhibiting the growth of domestic fleets,” Elizalde added.

In July, the Mexican government implemented a new rule requiring pumping stations to sell ULSD. However, distribution of ULSD to gas stations has been slow as Pemex – Mexico’s state-run oil company – continues producing high-sulfur diesel.

Another part of the new country-wide law requires  truck manufacturers to only import, make and sell ULSD-run trucks starting in January 2021. However, according to a study from ANPACT, 20% of the pumping stations in Mexico still do not have ULSD.

“There are regions where the fuel is nowhere to be found,” Elizalde said according to a report from Reuters

Elizalde said the government needs to extend the period where trucks may still use Euro VI and EPA07, the current fuel standards in Mexico.

Truck and bus makers “would need 18-24 months to prepare factories, distribution chains, stores and sales forces for the change,” Elizalde said.

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Old Articles

Wednesday, September 25
· Kitchener driver says she left Loblaws after lack of overtime pay
· Trucking for a Cure: Woodstock Convoy rocks
· Testing electric trucks today so we’re ready for tomorrow
· If we want to get serious about emissions, we have to look at trucking
· Autonomous Trends Drive New SAE Standards for Tractor-Trailer Hookups
· FMCSA: US HOS Use Compliance Near Perfect Since Mandate
· Fines increase in B.C. for not following chain-up regulations
· Ontario to pilot higher speeds on three highways
Saturday, September 21
· UPS Announces New Uniforms for Drivers
· FedEx Announces 2020 Rate Increases

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