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Calling All Industry Members with 25 or 50 Years’ Service
Trucking News

The OTA Pioneers’/Half Century Clubs are inviting members who have been employed continuously for 25 or 50 years in the trucking industry to join the club!

OTA is now accepting applications for “new” inductees for the 2019 year. New members will be welcomed and inducted at the upcoming 2019 OTA convention in November (Nov. 6-7, 2019, Ritz Carlton Toronto).

Click here to download the application form

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20,000 technicians expected to compete in VISTA
Trucking News

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Registration opens Sept. 30 for the world’s largest service market competition, the Volvo International Service Training Awards, also known as VISTA.

Nearly 20,000 technicians from Volvo Trucks and Volvo Buses global dealer networks are expected to participate in the 2019-20 contest, the company said.

The main objectives of the competition are to encourage team spirit and pride, while also inspiring self-improvement and competence development, it said.

“A top-of-the-line service network is crucial for our customers’ truck business,” said Roger Alm, president of Volvo Trucks.

“VISTA shows how important our mechanics are and, at the same time, the competition improves our skills so we can deliver outstanding service provided by the best service crews in the world.”

VISTA started in 1957 and was originally aimed at Volvo technicians in Sweden. By 1977, it had expanded globally, attracting authorized Volvo dealers from all over the world.

In the most recent competition held during 2017-18, 240 teams qualified for the semi-finals, held in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The top 40 teams then competed in Curitiba, Brazil, in June 2018 at the VISTA World Championships, with the Estonian team Viies Ratas ultimately winning the competition.

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8 technologies that transformed trucking
Trucking News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – FTR’s annual transportation conference is a forward-looking event; a chance to explore emerging issues, predict trends, and gain insights into things like artificial intelligence. But Avery Vise, FTR’s vice-president of trucking, set the stage by looking at the top technologies and trends that shaped trucking.

  • Semi-trailer/fifth wheels — Frehauf demonstrated the first semi-trailer in 1914. Charles H. Martin introduced the Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel in 1915, allowing for the easy attaching and unhooking of trailers.
  • Forklifts – Clark Equipment Co. in 1917 introduced the Tructractor – the first internal combustion-powered industrial truck. Imagine loading trailers without something like that!
  • Diesel engines – While patented by Rudolf Diesel in 1893, the diesel engine was not widely used in trucks until after Cummins introduced its first truck diesel engine in 1933, Vise observed. In the early years of trucking, vehicles were powered not only by gasoline but also often by batteries.
  • Sleeper berths – Packard, a truck maker, introduced sleeper berths in 1917. The U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission’s first regulations that came in 1937 established special hours of service rules for their use. These rules were largely unchanged until 2005.
  • Air brakes – Introduced by Westinghouse in the early 1920s, air brakes allowed for heavier vehicles.
  • Intermodal containers – Trucking magnate Malcom McLean had been transporting trailers on ships since the early 1950s. In 1956 he introduced a way to maximize cargo on ships by separating the container from the chassis between truck movements.
  • Electronic control modules – Introduced in 1987 by Detroit Diesel, the ECM allowed for the measuring and modifying of engine parameters to improve fuel efficiency. Later the ECMs were used in brakes, transmissions, and more, and are critical components in advanced safety systems.
  • Satellite locating – Qualcomm introduced OmniTracs in 1988. This was, perhaps, the single-greatest leap in technology to improve equipment visibility and utilization, Vise said. “Thirty years ago, we thought it was pretty cool to know where your truck was … that same technology helped us develop electronic logs.” The early logs, for example, made it possible for truck electronics to verify mileage.
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Rush expands dealership network with Archer acquisition
Trucking News

Rush Truck Centres of Canada has acquired Archer Truck Services, adding two truck dealerships in southern Ontario. 

The acquisition was announced on Sept. 4. With the Archer dealerships in St. Catharines and Welland, Rush Truck Centres now has 16 dealerships and six associate dealerships in Ontario

“This acquisition aligns with our strategy to grow and expand our geographic footprint throughout Ontario. says Kevin G. Tallman, Chief Executive Officer of Rush Truck Centres of Canada.

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CRAZY: How did this truckie walk away from this?
Trucking News
The truck wound up on a roof in Canada.
The truck wound up on a roof in Canada.

IF THIS happened to you, you'd climb out of your truck looking just as stunned as this Canadian truck driver.

WATCH THE VIDEO


In footage posted to Facebook by Sharon Gauthier, a Penske truck appears to veer off into a ditch, catapulting the back end up into the air before gracefully landing onto someone's roof.

 

According to police in Alban, Ontario, where the incident occurred, nobody was inside the home at the time and noone was hurt.

The driver of the truck, a 24-year-old man, was charged with careless driving.
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Nikola names strategic investors
Trucking News

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Nikola Corporation has revealed Bosch and Hanwha as strategic investors who have collectively invested more than US$230 million into the company.

Both companies have invested at least US$100 million, Nikola announced.

Bosch has been an “instrumental partner,” according to Nikola, in developing its heavy-duty vehicle fuel cell system and battery technology.

Hanwha is into renewable energy and solar panel manufacturing, and is helping Nikola obtain clean energy for its hydrogen fueling network.

“I’m excited to finally share two of our strategic investors to date. Bosch can help us commercialize very complex vehicle components and Hanwha can provide us with clean energy at hydrogen locations where possible,” said Trevor Milton, CEO if Nikola. “Everyone wins because together we’re helping make zero emissions a reality. Rather than going at this alone like many startups do, my goal was to build the most powerful network of partners in the world, and I believe we have done a pretty good job at that with CNHI, Bosch, Hanwha and others.”

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Close call was 'stupid mistake' with possibly dire consequences, says
Trucking News

'He was within feet when he went back in his own lane, passing me,' says Tony Power

Stills from the dashcam footage show the vehicle just barely getting back into its lane, avoiding a collision with a transport truck.

A commercial truck driver's latest dashcam video of a close call on the highway is just the latest of what he calls an "everyday occurrence."

Tony Power was driving west and had just passed Baie Verte Junction on Monday night around 10 p.m. when he saw lights in the oncoming lane.

"I just dimmed my lights and all of a sudden there was a vehicle beside me, and I was just like, 'What the heck?'" Power said

 

His dashcam footage shows a vehicle passing his transport truck, just inching into its lane, as another transport truck barrels down the highway.

The video shows the oncoming truck flashing its high beams to alert the driver they were in the wrong lane.

 

It was an unsettling close call, Power said.

"He was within feet when he went back in his own lane, passing me."

The section of highway where this happened had alternating lines, meaning vehicles can pass — but only when it's safe.

Power said it was definitely not safe.

"It was dark, obviously, and he could not see what was in front of me. He was very lucky that I wasn't catching up on a vehicle that was going slower and he had somewhere to go. Luck was on his side," he told CBC Newfoundland Morning.

"Had there been another vehicle, he would have nowhere to go."

Power said while the video may seem shocking, it's not unusual. He sees plenty of close calls.

"It's an everyday occurrence," Power said.

"You're on a two-lane highway. People got to realize they cannot see what's in front of me, or any other vehicle that's higher than them.… You don't know what's there, no more than if I was behind another truck."

 

If the vehicle hadn't managed to make its way back into its proper lane, Power said he doesn't know what would have happened, but it would not have been pretty.

"I couldn't go to my left because of the truck and collide, because it would have been on me," Power said.

"I couldn't barrel in on my brakes because the truck behind me would have collided to me, and that would have been on him because of someone else's stupid mistake — there's no other way to put it."

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Driver and horses safe after serious collision in Sicamous
Trucking News

Semi driver ticketed after a pickup towing a horse trailer collided with the semi, closing Highway 1

The driver of a pickup truck towing a horse trailer was hospitalized following a collision with a semi trailer on the Trans-Canada Highway in Sicamous on Sept. 2.

The RCMP were called to the scene of the collision which took place in front of the Husky truck stop at the east end of Sicamous at 2 p.m. Monday. Police say the pickup truck was travelling west with five horses in the trailer it was towing when it struck the trailer of a semi truck which turned left from the Husky onto the highway.

The driver of the semi was issued a ticket for failing to yield.

The driver of the pickup was not seriously injured despite her truck becoming lodged under the trailer with serious damage to its cab. She was taken to hospital in Salmon Arm as a precaution.

According to the RCMP the horses appeared uninjured and were led to a nearby farm where a resident agreed to take care of them.

The collision closed the highway for more than two hours between 2 and 4:30 p.m as crews worked to clear the wrecked vehicles. The closure, coupled with heavy long-weekend traffic, created significant congestion on the highway.

The Sicamous RCMP received help from the local fire department, highway maintenance crews and Eagle Valley Rescue with controlling traffic, detouring vehicles along the frontage road and clearing the wreckage.

The driver of the pickup truck, Sarah Sidenius Champoux, took to Facebook to express how fortunate she feels to have walked away from the incident with only minor injuries and to thank those who helped her and the horses she was transporting. Her post stated that after she was able to free herself from the cab of the truck, dozens of people were there to help her get the doors of the horse trailer open.

Champoux said people including a vet tech and cowboy who are familiar with horses helped get the animals to safety.

“So at the end of the day I can’t thank everyone enough for all the help. I really feel incredibly thankful,” reads the post which had been shared more than 7,000 times.

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How to keep your truck lights shining
Trucking News
LED headlamps

Meredith Vincent, Ontario sales rep for Truck-Lite, shows off a new headlamp that has heating coils in the glass to melt snow and ice.

TORONTO, Ont. —  Lighting issues continue to be a significant cause of out-of-service violations for commercial drivers, despite improvements in technology and reliability. During this year’s Roadcheck inspection blitz, 11.5% of vehicles placed out-of-service were done so due to lighting issues.

This despite the fact LED (light-emitting diode) lights last much longer than incandescent bulbs and are gradually taking over the market on truck and trailers. But preventive maintenance can go a long way towards ensuring lighting issues don’t place trucks and trailers out-of-service at roadside.

Keeping lights out of harm’s way

One way to ensure lights are not the culprit for an out-of-service designation at roadside is to keep them out of harm’s way in the first place.

Nathan Holt, marketing manager for Ex-Guard front-end protection systems, says he’s seen headlight repairs that used to cost about $200, now costing $700-$800. A front-end protection system, or moose guard, can protect the headlights and front fenders and bumper, but needs to be weighed against the cost penalty associated with the extra weight.

When operating vocational trucks, there are different options for how lights are mounted to the truck. The Peterbilt Model 567, for instance, has headlights that are not contained within the fender. This makes them easier to service and replace when damaged, but does it also make them more vulnerable to damage since they extrude from the body? Ease of replacement and susceptibility to damage are two lighting considerations when buying a new truck – especially for vocational trucks that will operate within tight workspaces.

The case for LEDs

LED lighting has become a no-brainer in most applications, as prices have decreased. They draw less current than incandescent bulbs and last much longer. They also provide greater visibility and in the case of headlights, a truer, whiter, brightness.

“Incandescents are old technology,” says Meredith Vincent, regional sales manager, Ontario, for Truck-Lite. “That’s what fleets and owner-operators used forever, because that’s what was available. Now that the LED is readily available and more cost-effective, it’s lower maintenance and takes years of usage before you need to change anything.”

But to get the full advantages of an LED, as with any other component, it’s important to choose quality product. Brent Edmonson, a technician with Vision Truck Group, says the market is rife with poor-quality offshore LED lights.

“They have vibration problems, they get full of moisture, the lenses crack and discolor,” Edmonson says of poor-quality LED lights. Even body builders will frequently install poor-quality LED lights on equipment, he notes.

“You have a nearly $1-million concrete pumper that will have crappy Chinese LEDs on it,” he says. “But there are lots of good ones out there. Grote makes LEDs right here in Kitchener-Waterloo. There’s a lot of good stuff made here in North America but they insist on putting cheap crap on, and if you get a year out of it, consider yourself lucky. LEDs can be good for 10 years, or the life of the truck – hundreds of thousands of hours – but hardly anyone, it seems, buys the good ones. It’s frustrating.”

Volvo headlamps

The LED headlamps on the new Volvo VNL have a fan at the rear, that blows heat to the front of the lamp when necessary to help melt snow and ice.

But can LEDs handle the cold?

One knock against LED lighting is that they don’t generate heat at the front of the lamp, leading to the possibility of snow and ice accumulation. It’s a debatable subject, but one that manufacturers have taken steps to address.

When Volvo introduced its new VNL, it came fitted with innovative LED headlights equipped with a fan at the rear of the lamp. When ambient temperatures decline, the fan automatically turns on, pushing the heat from the rear of the lamp to the front, keeping the headlight clear of any snow and ice.

Truck-Lite has since come out with a solution of its own – an LED headlight with heating elements installed right in the glass.

“One thing I do hear that fleets and owner-operators don’t like (about LEDs) is, they don’t heat up from the front like incandescents do,” says Vincent.

She noted the diodes in an LED get very hot, and the heat needs to be drawn away in order for the light to survive. This is done through heat sinks at the rear of the light. Rather than push the warmth to the front, like Volvo does, Truck-Lite draws the heat out the rear of the light but has heating elements within the glass to melt any snow and ice.

She refers to heated LEDs as the “biggest advancement” in LED lighting at the moment.

“Everybody asks for it,” she says. “Not everybody is okay with the price increase.”

For those who aren’t willing to shell out extra money for the convenience of heated lights, she says customers should simply be diligent about keeping them wiped clean.

“If driving with halogen headlights, even though they do warm up in the front, it’s still not going to melt that much snow,” she reasons.

Brand new doesn’t always mean ‘good to go’

When taking delivery of new equipment, don’t always expect the lighting system to be road-ready. It’s a common mistake that can lead to downtime, even on equipment that just arrived from the factory. Vincent says lighting manufacturers do their best to educate trailer OEMs on the proper installation and preparation of lighting systems, but still recommends fleets inspect new equipment upon taking delivery.

“A fleet gets a brand new trailer, and sometimes they don’t do their own PDI (post-delivery inspection),” she said. “It’s important to do that, because you can look at all the connections to make sure, yes, they have been prepared with dielectric compound. If they go in dry, it makes it that much easier for contaminants to get into the connection, even if it’s a good connection. No one wants to hear that – it’s a labor cost to do that – but if the electrical system is not working, the whole vehicle is not working.”

Edmonson has had similar experiences in his own career.

“I find, even when new, there’s never enough dielectric grease on any of the connections, especially the taillights,” Edmonson says. “When I buy a truck or trailer, I pop out every light, put dielectric grease on all the connections. Make sure everything is nice and sealed up.”

Common mistakes in the shop

Since corrosion is the number one killer of lights and wiring harness connections, Vincent said it’s important to make inspecting connections and applying dielectric grease when necessary, part of the routine maintenance on a truck or trailer.

Mistakes she frequently sees in the field include not using enough dielectric compound, or using an alternative product such as brake clean, which is conductive and shouldn’t be introduced to the wiring system. When a light isn’t working, she suggests troubleshooting the electrical system before assuming the light itself is to blame.

“It could be plugged in incorrectly, or a connection could be loose. There are a lot of variables why (the light isn’t working),” she explains.

Asked what mistakes Edmonson has seen in the shop, he rhymes off “Too much electrical tape, not enough dielectric grease, and not enough shrink tube.”

It’s important to seal out moisture through proper techniques rather than slapping on electrical tape, he emphasized.

“Usually, the more electrical tape you see, the worse things are going to be. There’s usually a disaster hidden underneath the tape. Tape doesn’t seal moisture out, it really just holds it in,” he says. “You want to use shrink tube. They have to be sealed, water and air tight. You have to use dielectric grease and you have to make sure the wiring is secured and isn’t going to rub and chafe on something. You also have to keep them away from the heat of the diesel particulate filter, the exhaust, all the new emissions equipment. They’re having to do a tougher job in a worse environment.”

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Truck drivers exempt from Labour Code changes
Trucking News

OTTAWA, Ont. – Canada’s trucking industry appears to have secured a reprieve from wide-reaching changes to the Canada Labour Code, which took effect Sept. 1, but many questions remain.

A need to give federally regulated workers 96 hours of written notice about work schedules — and 24 hours’ notice about shift changes — exempts truck drivers, courier drivers, material handlers, warehouse workers, and shipper-receivers, according to the Interpretations, Policies and Guidelines used by enforcement teams.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) expects that it will be business as usual until further notice, and says it’s working with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to address outstanding concerns affecting other job titles.

“CTA supports modern labor standards. However, the alliance has always held the position that any new standards that come into place must make sense for the industry and the customers we serve,” said alliance president Stephen Laskowski.

Other changes to the Labour Code include the right to refuse overtime due to family obligations, a 30-minute break for every five hours of work, and a minimum eight-hour break between work shifts.

It isn’t the only business group to sound the alarm about the impact the scheduling changes could have.

“The federal government is trying to apply a one-size-fits-all, 9-5 business model to industries where that just doesn’t work,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Our trucking members in particular have been clear that these labor standard changes will be devastating. They are facing significant labor shortages and are doing what they can to attract and retain qualified workers. Business owners already know that a good work-life balance is essential to keeping their employees.”

The new rules also introduce more red tape for businesses that operate across provincial borders, potentially precluding them from making one-day and same-day deliveries, the CFIB says.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has also been looking to have trucking removed from a requirement to refuse overtime for certain personal responsibilities, but said this may be less of a concern when those responsibilities are more clearly defined.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) leading to real-world possibilities
Trucking News

artificial intelligence

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There’s data, data everywhere, but limits to what people can do with it. Advances in Artificial Intelligence – often referred to simply as AI – is introducing the computing power that will harness the data to guide everything from the decisions made by autonomous vehicles, to the efforts to better manage traffic flows.

Advances in AI are made possible by today’s ability to capture immense volumes of data, exponential increases in computing power through cloud computing, and gains in machine learning, explains Alexandre Barsi Lopez of the Indiana University IU Kelley School of Business.

“We can do things that were not possible before even a couple of years ago.”

Sensors are emerging in areas that would never have been considered before, he added, during a presentation at FTR’s annual conference. And not just on the newest systems. During a recent visit to a production line, he saw sensors monitoring equipment that was still 25 years old, feeding instructions to personnel by cell phones. “You don’t need to have the most modern technology to add sensors everywhere.”

The advances are expected to play a key role in security, too. “It’s impossible to think about every single attack that people can come up with, but what you can do is say what is the current state of your data, what is your current state of infrastructure, and you can start looking for variations,” Lopez said.

New approaches for handling data, and changing the amount of data needed to determine a pattern, could make AI cheaper and more efficient, he said. The same can be said for approaches that involve offering AI as a service. Business systems like Salesforce and SAP already offer AI add-ons to their offerings.

The computing power won’t necessarily replace people. It could be used to limit repetitive work, such as taking the first look at hundreds of job applications. Other work could run in parallel, with a machine completing some work alongside a human. While someone takes a phone call, for example, a system could use language processing to listen in to the conversation and predict the tools and parts that are needed for a service activity, he said.

Even cities are becoming smarter, and Lopez believes 5G networks will accelerate the possibilities of AI. Most public garages in Beijing are now connected, displaying the available parking spots whenever a car enters or leaves, he said as an example. Imaging the applications of knowing exactly where parking will be available.

High-speed networks – especially in cities – will improve access to vehicle data and the ability to make remote adjustments, he added.

It could be a key to winning last mile deliveries, too. Kroger stores are testing autonomous delivery bots in the U.S., and Amazon is testing drones. “There a lot of creativity right now,” Lopez said of the tests. Combine it all with machine learning, and routing could be improved to manipulate traffic flows.

None of this will involve plugging and playing, though.

“AI is not something we can say, ‘Oh, artificial intelligence. Here it is,” said FTR CEO Eric Starks. Data can be shared in different directions, or even in both directions, but different tasks will require the data more often.

Autonomous trucks offer another layer of challenges.

“What happens if the connectivity gets lost? What happens if it’s not sending the right data? How much duplicate information do we have to have? All these things need to happen,” Starks said in a briefing of his own. Even batteries will need to be considered. “It eats up power. When you process stuff, that needs power.”

With the growing interest in AI, decisions need to be made about storage space, likely relying on cloud-based computing. “As we continue to move down this pathway, is that available and enough?” he asked. “The amount of processing power that it takes is significant to start doing things like AI, to be able to process all this information.”

“We have to be able to share this data so that it becomes useful, so a new tool can be devised that allows us to do a better decision.”

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Drivers chosen for fuel-efficiency roadshow
Trucking News

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Ten drivers have been selected to participate in Run on Less Regional, a fuel-efficiency roadshow.

It kicks off Oct. 7 at various locations and ends in Atlanta during the North American Commercial Vehicle Show Oct. 28–31.

Shell, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) are the main sponsors of the event.

The drivers are working for C&S Wholesale Grocers, Hirschbach, Hogan Transportation, J.B. Hunt, Meijer, PepsiCo, Ploger Transportation, Schneider, Southeastern Freight Lines and UPS.

Their trucks will be equipped with a variety of different technologies and, as each fleet selects its own combination of technologies to achieve its fuel efficiency goals, no two trucks will be the same.

During three weeks in October, the drivers — hauling freight in different locations across the U.S. — will demonstrate that excellent fuel economy is possible in the growing regional haul segment of the trucking industry.

They typically travel no more than 300 miles from their base.

“The 10 drivers who are participating in Run on Less Regional have shown that fuel efficiency is as important in regional operations as it is in longhaul, over-the-road trucking,” said Mike Roeth, NACFE’s executive director.

“We are pleased that these drivers have agreed to participate in the Run to show all of us how they can get great fuel economy despite some of the challenges of regional haul including traffic, multiple stops, construction, etc.”

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Employment drops in transport and warehousing
Trucking News

Employment in Canada’s transportation and warehousing sector record a modest decline in August.

Statistics Canada’s August Labour Force Survey recorded a 0.6 percent decline in the sector, to which trucking is the largest contributor. The decline of around 6,660 jobs, however, fell within the survey’s margin of error. 

Ontario, the sector’s largest job market, posted a 0.1 percent gain. The biggest drops happened in British Columbia (2.3 percent), Quebec (0.8 percent) and Alberta (0.4 percent). A factor in British Columbia could be closures of sawmills. 

The small drop follows a 1.4 percent decline in July. At the time, TD economist Brian Depratto commented that a modest correction in transport and warehousing seemed normal because of recent gains.  

Employment in transport and warehousing remains strong year-over-year – up 4.2 percent.

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Maple Leaf Motoring: Drone Delivery Canada reveals 1,500-aircraft operations cen
Trucking News

Company says it plans to charge about C$10,000 for each aircraft and route as it prepares to scale up to commercial operations.



Drone Delivery Canada has completed its operations center. Now, it just needs customers.

Maple Leaf Motoring is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of Canadian transportation. This week: Drone Delivery Canada unveils ops center and pricing, transport employment declines and Prince Rupert gets more than C$150 from feds.

Drone Delivery Canada (TSXV:FLT) moved closer to launching full commercial operations, unveiling a new operations center that it said will be able to manage up to 1,500 aircraft.

The company, which has a partnership with Air Canada, also revealed pricing: a licensing fee of around C$10,000 per drone per route per month. (The Canadian dollar equals US$0.76)

Using the company’s projections, the single operations have the potential to generate C$180 million in recurring revenue per year. That would assume full utilization, and doesn’t consider Air Canada’s cut.

The operations center is located in Vaughan, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. CEO Michael Zahra said it was the first of its kind globally.

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Drivers are at front and center of jobs fair
Trucking News


TORONTO, Ont. – Bigger and better. That is what the organizers say about next weekend’s Roads Today-Truck News Jobs Expo in Mississauga, Ont.

The event, which is aimed at meeting the hiring needs of Canada’s growing trucking industry, will be held Sept. 14 at the International Centre.

It is being organized by Newcom South Asian Media Co., a division of Newcom Media, the publisher of Truck News.

“The Jobs Expo has become the most sought-after hiring event for employers as well as job seekers serving the trucking and logistics sector,” said Manan Gupta, general manager of Newcom South Asian Media.

“With a galaxy of industry leading companies in attendance looking to fill jobs, there will be ample opportunities to learn, network and get hired as well.”

The show builds on the success of the inaugural expo held in September 2018 and the spring edition in April 2019, Gupta said.

Nearly 100 exhibitors will be in attendance, representing Canada’s best-known fleets and service providers from allied sectors.

Once again, the focus of the job fair will be on drivers.

The North American trucking industry is reeling under a severe shortage of drivers. In Canada, the sector is estimated to face a deficit of close to 50,000 drivers by the end of 2024.

In the U.S., driver shortage rose to 60,800 last year, up nearly 20% from 50,700 in 2017, according to the American Trucking Associations.

The group has warned that the shortage could hit 100,000 in five years and 160,000 by 2028.

“In today’s scenario with extreme driver shortage, I would rather say qualified drivers’ shortage, job expos like the RTTN are of much help,” said Neha Bhatia, a recruiter at SGT Transport.

The Brampton, Ont.-based company has been participating in the show since its inception.

“It would again be a great platform for companies to connect with the qualified workforce and vice versa,” said Bhatia.

Trucking HR Canada, which promotes collaboration among the stakeholders in the trucking industry, will also be back at the show.

“We participate in the Jobs Expo as we find it is a great opportunity to connect with industry employers and future employees alike,” said Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada.

The Ministry of Transportation as well as the Ontario Provincial Police will also participate.

Admission and parking are free.

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Top Manitoba driver honors military roots
Trucking News
Military truck

Pigeau’s company truck is decaled to honor Canada’s military veterans.

WINNIPEG, Man. – Every driver has a story about how they got into the trucking industry, and for Manitoba’s 2019 Driver of the Year, the how is just the beginning of what has been quite a journey.

Robert Pigeau comes from a military background, having served for more than 21 years as a chef. Driving a truck and hauling a kitchen trailer was part of his job, much like a modern-day food truck chef catering to the hungry masses.

During his time in the Canadian Armed Forces, Pigeau was posted all over the country and abroad, including a stint in Kosovo. His jacket weighted down by the medals he has received over the years, Pigeau eventually retired from the military and found a home in the trucking industry.

“When I retired, I didn’t want to be stuck in a building,” said Pigeau. “I decided I wanted to go out on the road.”

On that road, Pigeau has made his mark, not just as a driver, but as someone who puts community ahead of himself – a trait engrained within those who choose to serve their country.

In 1996, Pigeau launched his trucking career by first going through Reimer Express Lines’ driving school, which the carrier provided during that time.

With an overall score of 98.6 – second only to one other student, who also entered the course with driving experience – Pigeau was ready to make his new career a reality.

Military training can be tough, and for those looking to attain their 404 driver’s licence it’s no different. Active servicemen must complete a series of defensive driving courses and a week-long class to acquire their air brake endorsement.

“The training in the military is pretty intense,” said Pigeau. “When I started pulling a 53-foot trailer it was actually easier than pulling my kitchen trailer…especially backing up.”

A year later, Pigeau started driving for Big Freight Systems out of Winnipeg, Man., where he has remained to this day.

Driving longhaul, Pigeau covers all of North America for Big Freight, from the Northwest Territories to south of the border, moving everything from dangerous goods to Harley Davidson motorcycles.

To say his second career as a truck driver has been a success would be an understatement. Pigeau was honored with this year’s Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA)-Volvo Trucks Canada Manitoba Driver of the Year, and was one of 10 MTA Inland/Custom Trucks Sales Kenworth Truck Company Industry Excellence Award recipients in 2018.

With a strong sense of company loyalty, he has remained with Big Freight for over 20 years, tallying several million accident free miles during that time.

Rob Cooper, operations manager for Big Freight, said Pigeau takes enormous pride in what he does, and always shows meticulous attention to detail in his work.

Company president and CEO Gary Coleman agreed, saying “Robert is proud to be a professional truck driver and represents our company and our industry extremely well.”

But career satisfaction is not the main driver in Pigeau’s life.

Having turned 60 this past March, Pigeau, along with his wife, continue to be pillars in their community, volunteering any way they can to help those in need.

Whether it be for the MS Society of Canada, the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics, or the Ride for Dad for prostate cancer, the couple continue to be an example of what it means to give back to the city of Winnipeg and beyond. Pigeau even went so far to say he is eyeing retirement so that his time can be freed up to volunteer more often.

Big Freight has been in Pigeau’s corner when it comes to raising awareness of Canada’s veterans, a cause near and dear to his heart.

“I was going to Big Freight for many years to try and get something to recognize all veterans,” Pigeau said, whose company truck boasts a military wrap to honor those who have served. “Every veteran who works for Big Freight has the yellow ribbon with the maple leaf (on their truck).”

Pigeau helps Big Freight by being a trustworthy contact for veterans looking to get into the trucking industry. He created a Facebook page called “Life as a Canadian Veteran Over the Road Driving Truck,” and several former and active military personnel have taken notice.

“I have a lot of military who follow me, as well as truck drivers,” he said. “I also have a lot of military people who call me when they are retiring. I talk to them and explain what it’s like to get into the trucking industry.”

Coleman and Cooper say they have never seen a person prouder of their country and honored they had the chance to serve than their 2019 Driver of the Year.

And Pigeau’s sense of pride is not limited to his past life a military serviceman. He has carried that dedication and loyalty to his current employer, something that is not as common in the industry as many would like and not lost on anyone at Big Freight.

“Robert is an incredible ambassador for our industry and our company,” said Jeremy Messner, vice-president of business development for Big Freight. “It is always a pleasure to get some time with Robert at our company events, which he seldom misses. His energy, passion, and laugh are contagious and inspiring.”

Hopefully, Pigeau’s energy and passion will passed down to a new crop of drivers in an industry that needs them desperately.

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Ford Issues Recalls on Nearly 500,000 Select Truck and SUV Models
Trucking News

Safety recall of select vehicles has been issued for potential lack of seat restraint in the event of a crash

Ford Motor Company is issuing four safety recalls in North America for select vehicles for potential lack of seat restraint in the event of a crash. Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with any of these conditions.

Ford is issuing a safety recall for:

  1. Certain 2018-20 Ford F-150, 2019-20 Ford F-Series Super Duty, 2018-19 Ford Explorer and 2019-20 Ford Expedition vehicles with a manual driver and/or front passenger seat-back recliner mechanism, and
  2. Certain 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Lincoln Aviator vehicles with rear outboard seats with manual seat-back recliner mechanisms.

Affected vehicles may be missing the third pawl required for seatback strength. A seatback with an improperly assembled recliner mechanism may have reduced strength and may not adequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

This action affects 483,325 vehicles in the United States and federal territories, 58,712 in Canada and 8,149 in Mexico.

Affected vehicles include:

2018-20 Ford F-150 vehicles built at:

  • Dearborn Assembly Plant from Sept. 14, 2018, to Aug. 7, 2019, and
  • Kansas City Assembly Plant from Sept. 11, 2018, through Aug. 2, 2019

2019-20 Ford F-Series Super Duty vehicles built at:

  • Kentucky Assembly Plant from Sept. 9, 2018, through July 22, 2019, and
  • Ohio Assembly Plant from Sept. 11, 2018, through July 17, 2019

2018-19 Ford Explorer vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant from Sept. 9, 2018, through March 3, 2019

2019-20 Ford Expedition vehicles built at Kentucky Assembly Plant from Oct. 16, 2018, through July 24, 2019

2020 Ford Explorer vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant from Nov. 21, 2018, through Aug. 21, 2019, and

2020 Lincoln Aviator vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant from April 12, 2019, through July 16, 2019.

Dealers will inspect the seat structure of affected vehicles. Most vehicles are expected to pass the inspection and not require repair. If a repair is required, the dealer will replace the seat structure. There will be no charge to the customer for these services.

The Ford reference number for this recall is 19C07.

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Camo-route sheds light on driver pay, other compensation
Trucking News

MONTREAL, Que. – A typical longhaul truck driver based in Quebec makes $67,000 per year, while local haulers are paid $56,000, according to research conducted on behalf of the HR specialists at Camo-route.

The survey of 126 Quebec companies was completed by the PCI Perreault Conseil consulting firm and also offered insights into everything from benefits programs, to pension plans, vacation policies, and training.

“Overall, the survey collected reliable data on the state of the labour market in terms of pay and working conditions,” said Bernard Boulé, managing director of Camo-route.

“The survey reveals that several companies have put in place measures that meet the expectations of the new workforce and are in line with the new reality of the labour market,” he added.

The compensation figures covered drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, logisticians, and material handlers.

The typical longhaul driver was found to get a third week of vacation after four years of service, while employers pay half the cost of group insurance. Some fleets were also found to be shifting to hourly pay rather than pay per mile.

The average local driver made $20.60 per hour and worked 52.5 hours per week, the survey says. Overtime is paid after 60 hours, and a third week of vacation is added after four years of service.

In most fleets, dispatchers, logistics teams, mechanics, and material handlers worked a typical 40-hour week. The truck drivers worked 52.5 hours per week.

Almost all the surveyed businesses (89%) use the same holiday policy for all jobs, typically offering three weeks of vacation after four weeks on the job. Seventy-five percent offer a fourth week of vacation, and 60% offer a fifth week.

Half of the surveyed companies offer paid leave in addition to public holidays and annual holidays. In some organizations, the length of paid leave varies depending on seniority.

The majority of mechanics and handlers are eligible for overtime, with half of the pay in cash, and the remaining half in lieu time.

Drivers tend to see premiums for pick-ups and deliveries, dwell times, or travel within certain regions such as New York. Other bonuses are offered to team leaders and for referring job candidates.

According to the survey, 78% of the fleets offer group insurance. Retirement plans were offered by 60-70%, while about 1/3 offer short-term disability leave.

Boulé noted that 83% of survey participants said they face a labor shortage, and 92% said the driver shortage was an important issue to address.

“In addition, this issue represents a huge cost on many aspects of the business. Solutions will need to be put forward,” he said.

While compensation isn’t the only issue to affect the labor shortage, it is seen as an important factor when people decide whether to leave trucking. But flexible schedules, work-life balance, pensions, benefits, training, and vacation time all play a role as well, he said.

Other research is expected to follow.

“Already, the first edition highlighted aspects that need to be explored further, such as premiums, meal costs, and hourly pay over long distances. Moreover, given that the road freight sector is undergoing a transformation, it is essential to monitor the evolution of remuneration over the next few years,” Boule said.

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Expert calls for team effort to fight cargo theft
Trucking News

TORONTO, Ont. – An insurance claims investigations expert is calling for a coordinated effort by all stakeholders to stamp out the rising cargo theft bleeding the Canadian trucking industry.

“Working together, we are going to be able to have a really good impact on cargo theft,” said Garry Robertson, Manager of the Northbridge Claims Special Investigations Unit.

The law enforcement, the trucking industry, the insurance industry and all other stakeholders should team up to fight the menace, he told Truck News in an interview last week following the release of a mid-year white paper by Northbridge Insurance.

“No one group is going to be able to do it on its own.”

He said team work had paid off in jurisdictions such as California and Arizona, U.S. states with high rates of cargo thefts

Robertson also said that the first half of 2019 witnessed a shift in thefts in Canada, with thieves targeting trucks and leaving behind the cargo, especially in the western region.

He said police in Ontario were able to make a small dent in cargo thefts this year by arresting a large number of suspects, but he cautioned against complacence.

“I think the shift is going to be short-lived, to be honest with you. I think we’re going to see a movement back to cargo relatively soon,” Robertson said.

Another trend he has noticed over the past few years is the emergence of new groups of criminals targeting the trucking industry.

“When you look at the definition of organized crime, you have to kind of stay away from the old traditional ideas,” he said.

“It is not necessarily traditional Mafia style. When we say organized crime now, it is organized groups of individuals made up of every type of organization.”

The trucks being stolen are mostly older models of Freightliners and Volvos, which are then cut up for parts, he said.

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Class 3 driver shortage affecting P.E.I. farms
Trucking News

P.E.I. has a shortage of drivers with a Class 3 licence able to drive a heavy truck such as a potato tandem or grain truck.

Island farms are seeking out 16 of these drivers and as the potato harvest picks up the number could climb as high as 50, according to the P.E.I. Agriculture Sector Council.

A lack of drivers means a loss for some farmers, said executive director Laurie Loane.

"If they can't get their drivers to put the crops in the fields to the warehouses and then to the processing, they're losing money and they can't afford to lose any more money than what they already do," Loane said.

She said that puts farmers in a tough situation.

Loane said she wishes the council still had enough funding to pay for this training, so farmers didn't have to invest $800 to get a worker the Class 3 licence — something that also eats into the farmer's bottom line. 

"We have to make sure that we are going in the right direction and getting the people trained and having them work in agriculture is certainly what I think is the right direction," Loane said, noting the council had a third of its funding cut by the province in 2015.

Loane isn't alone in her frustrations.

Cost adds up

Lack of capable drivers has been an ongoing issue for a number of years in the farming industry, said Robert Godfrey, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture

"One farm that I talked to, they are short two drivers and that meant real consequences last year in terms of getting product out of the ground and into storage. So, I think there are real consequences when you can't find the drivers you need," he said.


One of the challenges is spending the $800 for a worker to get Class 3 training, then if that worker leaves for another job, it creates even more losses for farmers, Godfrey said.

"If you are training two or three drivers the cost starts to add up," he said.

Godfrey said the P.E.I. Agriculture Sector Council used to be able to cover the whole cost, but with the cuts in 2015 it hasn't been able to. He said he thinks going back to the 100 per cent coverage model would help the situation.

"Would it erase the problem? I wouldn't go that far, but it would help," Godfrey said.

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Old Articles

Wednesday, August 28
· Reducing driver fatigue with artificial intelligence and machine learning
· 2 Men Stole A Tractor Trailer Full Of Beer In Canada's Latest Beer Heist
· Thief lands C$187,000 cheese shipment with forged paperwork
· Quebec last-mile provider to start electric truck deliveries
· Roadside saliva drug test results in licence suspension for trucker
· CTA ads to honor trucking industry workers
· CTA Ads Reinforce Respect, Celebrate Drivers During NTW
· Dana acquires Quebec-based electric drivetrain developer
· Ontario to tighten emissions testing for trucks
Thursday, August 22
· 14 tractor-trailers destroyed in western New York fire

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