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Labrador highway washout could take days to repair, stranding truckers and trave
Trucking News
A washed-out section of the Trans-Labrador Highway could take days to repair, says the Department of Transportation and Works.


Starting on Wednesday, stranded travellers will be helicoptered across the impassable road and freight will be delivered by Labrador Marine.

A section of Route 510 about 18 kilometres south of the Churchill River washed away Monday morning, near the entrance to the Muskrat Falls site.

Travellers in need of updates or assistance are asked to call the department at 709-896-7840 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Washout costly for truckers

As the hours tick by, Cecil Davis is hemorrhaging more and more money with his trucks stuck on both sides of a washout severing the Trans-Labrador Highway.

The owner of Christopher's Trucking in Forteau has trucks full of items stuck on both sides of the washout, with no way to deliver goods to Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

On Tuesday morning, Davis said a load of perishable food would likely be spoiled.

"You have drivers sitting, you have trucks and trailers loaded with products as well. It's substantial when you look at it, the costs you incur."

Davis estimates the cost to his business has already reached into the "tens of thousands."

Bikers stuck trying to reach wedding

Two adventure-seeking bikers are stuck in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, unable to get beyond the chasm in the road.

Andrew Woods of Nova Scotia, and Ralph Matthews of New Hampshire, decided to take the route through Labrador to get to Newfoundland for a friend's wedding.

"They say the Trans-Labrador Highway is one of the best adventure highways in Canada," Woods said.

And what an adventure it turned out to be.

The duo is now waiting to figure out if their bikes can be helicoptered across the washout for cheaper than it would cost to turn around and go all the way back through the Maritimes — more than 2,000 kilometres to the ferry terminal in North Sydney, N.S. They would then take the ferry to Argentia.

The friend's wedding is in St. John's on Saturday. 

"If anyone out there knows a guy with a boat that's willing to take a few motorcycles over to Cartwright, give us a call," Matthews laughed.

Repairs underway, but no timeline

Work got underway on Tuesday afternoon, as water levels subsided enough to make it safe for the workers.

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FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index took step back in April
Trucking News

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s April Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) took a step back in April to a reading of 1.9, close to a full point below March.

The April SCI measure was negatively affected by stronger rail rates and higher fuel prices outweighing improved shipper conditions related to trucking.

The outlook shows strong shipper conditions through 2019 as the rate environment is expected to become more favorable.  Key factors to watch include fuel prices, truck utilization, and rail service.

“Shippers should continue to expect favorable conditions and an ability to easily get freight placed in the market,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “They will be aided by the relatively stable fuel prices through most of the rest of 2019 and somewhat slowing rail freight volumes.”

The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions are: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem…and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.

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Northbridge's Silvy Wright elected Chair of the Board of Directors for Insu
Trucking News

Toronto, June 25, 2019 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has elected Silvy Wright to serve as Chair of the Board. Ms. Wright is President and Chief Executive Officer for Northbridge Financial, a leading Canadian commercial insurer.


New IBC Chair Silvy Wright (CNW Group/Insurance Bureau of Canada)
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New IBC Chair Silvy Wright (CNW Group/Insurance Bureau of Canada)

"The insurance industry is changing at an unprecedented pace and facing new challenges. As the voice of Canada's property and casualty insurance industry, IBC is uniquely positioned to help address shared concerns and forge solutions to pressing issues," said Silvy Wright , Chair, IBC Board of Directors. "These challenges span from work advancing the country's preparedness for severe weather events, to auto insurance reforms across Canada , to new technologies and industry disruptors. Through IBC, property and casualty insurers will continue engaging governments and stakeholders across Canada to drive changes that will benefit Canadian businesses and consumers. I look forward to continuing this important work and representing the shared values of our industry."

Ms. Wright has been President and CEO of Northbridge since 2011. Before that, she played a pivotal role in building Markel Insurance into Canada's premier trucking insurer, including being President and CEO starting in 2006 after holding other executive positions with the company. Prior to Markel, Ms. Wright held other senior positions in the insurance and financial services industries.

"In her new role as Chair, Ms. Wright brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to IBC, and her work in commercial insurance brings a unique perspective to the role," said Don Forgeron , President and CEO, IBC. "We look forward to working with her to reach our goals of helping consumers and keeping Canada's insurance industry strong and robust. With Ms. Wright's leadership, IBC will continue to advance its strategic priorities with communities, stakeholders and governments across the country." 

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada . For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54 .7 billion.

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Florida's latest oddity: Semi trucks with nobody inside them
Trucking News

At first glance, the 18-wheeler, white with green lettering crawling down its side, looked like any other heavy-duty truck on the road.

The vehicle merged onto the busy Florida Turnpike outside Tampa earlier this month, smoothly changing lanes and reaching 55 mph before eventually exiting the highway nearly 10 miles later.

The truck didn’t have any cargo, but it was carrying a closely-guarded secret: There was nobody inside the cab.

Owned by a start-up called Starsky Robotics, the vehicle is the latest example of self-driving trucks being tested on public roadways and follows similar tests across the nation from companies like Uber, Waymo, Tesla and Volvo, usually with a human backup driver behind the wheel.

Unlike most of the trucks being developed by those big name companies, Starsky Robotics’ trucks aren’t fully autonomous — they are simply unmanned. That means the vehicles employ a hybrid driving system in which computers make some driving decisions, but a remote human operator sitting in a faraway control room surrounded by screens and a steering wheel makes others, particularly during challenging stretches of road.

The company’s goal is to create a “driverless” freight company that stretches across the Southeastern United States.

Starsky Robotics’ 29-year-old co-founder and CEO, Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, believes his scrappy, 30-person company has a built-in advantage. Unlike his competitors, he said, his company is not beholden to the dogma of building a technically pure general autonomy system

“When it comes to driving a truck, a decent person paired with a decent artificial intelligence is better than the best person or the best AI,” explained Seltz-Axmacher, arguing that – for all our concerns about intelligent machines – engineers are a long way from developing AI that can replicate people’s fluid intelligence. “The tech industry doesn’t give humans enough credit, but they are really good at a lot of things that computers don’t do very well. Even mimicking the intelligence of an animal is really hard, let alone a person.”

In this case, he added, humans are better at navigating off-ramps and lane changes, but machines are better at maintaining focus during long, unimpeded stretches of roadway.

Seltz-Axmacher believes his company offers a potential solution for an industry that has suffered from a nationwide shortage of employees for more than a decade, a deficit that has led to a sharp increase in shipping costs in recent years.

As The Washington Post’s Heather Long reported last year, the shortage is being exacerbated by several factors: low unemployment, a humming economy that has created heavy demand for trucks, and younger workers steering clear of jobs they believe will be phased out by automation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average age of a commercial truck driver in the U.S. is 55 years, with more than 90 percent of them male.

The truck driver shortage stood at roughly 36,500 in 2016, but was expected to surpass 50,000 by the end of 2017, according to the most recent figures from the American Trucking Associations.

“Demographics are working against the industry,” Derek Leathers, CEO of Omaha-based trucking company Werner Enterprises told NPR last year. “The trucking industry average age is about 10 years older than the average age across other comparable industries like manufacturing and construction. So as those retirements are taking place, we’re just not seeing the same level of new entrants into the industry.”

For a middle-aged tuck driver supporting a family the benefit of remotely operating a truck is obvious, according to Seltz-Axmacher: getting to leave work at the end of the day and go home and see your loved ones. The CEO says he’s met truckers who have only interacted with their children for a few days a month for more than a decade.

“Driving is difficult and it’s a hard job,” he said. noting the long hours and isolation. “But what makes it even harder is how it impacts people’s personal lives.

“I don’t know many truck drivers who have been on road for at least 10 years and don’t have a complicated family situation.”

Removing drivers from trucks will also allow the industry to remodel the vehicle’s cabins, which are designed for comfort to entice and retain drivers, but make trucks less fuel efficient, raising shipping costs, Seltz-Axmacher said.

Starsky Robotics has no shortage of competition in the trucking space. Beginning last year in nearby Georgia, Waymo – formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project – unveiled a pilot program in Atlanta using Peterbilt Class 8 trucks to carry cargo bound for Google’s data centers.

Tesla is also developing a long haul semitrailer truck that would include semiautonomous features for highway driving.

Last year, Uber announced that the ride-hailing giant was shuttering its self-driving truck program, a division that made history in 2016 by completing the world’s first autonomous truck delivery – 50,000 cans of Budweiser.

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Freight moved among U.S., Canada, Mexico down in April from March
Trucking News


WASHINGTON — Total freight transported between the United States, Mexico and Canada totaled $104.5 billion in April, according to the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The figure represents an increase of 1.8% compared to April 2018, but a 2.5% decrease from March 2019 when $107.2 billion was moved among the countries.

The most used mode of transportation was trucking, which moved $65.1 billion of freight, down 1% compared to April 2018 and down 3.4% from the $67.4 billion moved in March 2019.

The second most used mode was rail, which moved $15.6 billion of freight, up 6.3% compared to April 2018, but down .04% from March 2019’s $16.2 billion of rail freight..

Trucks moved 62.3% of all transborder freight, broken down as follows:

  • U.S.-Canada: $28.8 billion (55.5% of all northern border freight)
  • U.S.-Mexico: $36.3 billion (68.9% of all southern border freight)

Trucks moved $67.4 billion in March 2019.

Compared to April 2018, U.S.-Canada freight was down 3.3%, U.S.-Mexico freight was up 1%.

The three busiest truck border ports (43.3% of total transborder truck freight) included Laredo, Texas ($15.3 billion), Detroit ($8.6 billion) and El Paso, Texas ($5.3 billion).

The top three truck commodities (48.9% of total transborder truck freight) included:

  • Computers and parts, $13.6 billion
  • Motor vehicles and parts, $9.9 billion
  • Electrical machinery, $9.5 billion

Those three categories also were the top three categories in March 2019.

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Freightliner constructing Manitoba’s largest truck dealership
Trucking News
Freightliner constructing Manitoba’s largest truck dealership

MYRON LOVE - Freightliner Manitoba is set to expand and will be moving to a rectangular property with trailer access in the CentrePort Canada inland port near Winnipeg, Man.

Freightliner Manitoba Ltd, the province’s highest-volume truck dealer, has been in need of a larger, more user-friendly facility for some years now.

“We outgrew our current facility several years ago,” says Ken Talbot, the co-founder and now President of the 28-year-old company, “Our principal challenge was finding the right location.  We needed a lot of land. A rectangular piece of property with truck and trailer access. This was a pretty big wish list for Manitoba, and that is where CentrePort Canada came in.”

CentrePort Canada, located on the west side of Winnipeg, is North America’s largest inland port, offering 20,000 acres of high-quality industrial land and unique access to tri-modal transportation. The site offers easy access to Winnipeg’s James Richardson International Airport – which operates 24 hours per day, providing value to the out-of-province market. Over the past few years, the road system in the area has been considerably upgraded to improve trucking access and more efficient transportation movement.  A new water-treatment plant and grey water servicing has also been put in place within the past year. These innovations made the location very attractive to this multi-million-dollar company that stocks trucks, millions of parts and offers seven-day truck service.

Freightliner Manitoba started land preparation and construction late last year for the 78,000 square-foot dealership that plans to open its doors in 2020. The 14-acres of land allows for the building to more than double its current Logan location bringing more space for both business, staff and customers.

“Our new facility is going to change the way we are able to do business,” Talbot says. “We’re excited to offer our customers and employees more; more space, more parking and a more modern facility overall. These developments are more than just for the growing demand of our business but also bring comfort to staff and customers.”

The developments will consist of 38 service bays, a 3,971 square-foot showroom to showcase 2 semi-trucks, a well-stocked parts warehouse, 2 truck wash bays and more. The state-of-the-art facility will include innovative features such as radiant in-floor heating, LED lighting throughout and overall be an energy-efficient dealership.

The principal contractors, being Thomas Design Builders Ltd., have previously worked with Talbot to build their Transolutions Preventative Maintenance facility on Lucas Ave. Talbot says, “Thomas Design’s first project with us came in under time and under budget. This current building is also ahead of schedule.”

Freightliner Manitoba’s mission is to provide first-class, industry-leading transportation solutions to the commercial vehicle market in Manitoba, and to build value for their customers to depend on. This will only become more efficient with the new space to operate in.

“Although we are growing bigger, we won’t forget the core values we stand for such as Elite Support, unmatched customer service and work we can stand behind. Our staff and customers are all looking forward to our grand opening for business at our new location in early 2020.”

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Environment Canada delays rollout of GHG rules for trailers
Trucking News

OTTAWA, Ont. – Environment Canada will delay the rollout of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for trailers by one year, responding to a court challenge against similar rules in the U.S.

The U.S. Court of Appeals stayed the rollout of U.S. EPA Phase 2 trailer rules on Oct. 27, 2017. This means the Canadian rules – based on those proposed south of the border – would have been introduced before those in the U.S., the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) reports.

News of Canada’s delay until May 2020 emerged in Environment Canada’s Interim Order Modifying the Operation of the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations, published in Canada Gazette Part I and available here.

Lawmakers are looking to reduce the environmental impact of trailers, requiring van trailers to be outfitted with things like aerodynamic skirts, automatic tire inflation systems, lighter-weight components, and low-rolling-resistance tires. Even flatdecks would need to be fitted with things like low-rolling-resistance tires and automatic tire inflation systems.

In the meantime, Environment Canada will review concerns from Canadian trailer makers about the economic affects of moving forward with the trailer standards before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) versions are in force.

“CTA appreciates Environment Canada’s commitment to fact-based policy making. This process will allow for an analysis to understand the impacts on the Canadian market without a similar rule being in place in the United States,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “In the meantime, the bulk of the trucking equipment regulation and its positive impact remain in place, producing significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the trucking sector.”

Emissions rules pertaining to trucks and engines are not affected by the recent announcement.

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Trucks moved 63 percent of trans-border freight in March, up nearly $1 billion,
Trucking News
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Canada sets its ELD mandate timeline
Trucking News

Commercial truck and bus drivers in Canada will move from paper logs to electronic logging devices by 2021. Canadian and U.S. operators can use the same ELD in both countries.

Some 18 months after the U.S. started requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial trucks, Canada drawn up similar plans to electronically log the service hours of commercial drivers in the Great White North.

Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport, said on June 13 that his country is mandating the use of ELDs by federally regulated commercial truck and bus operators.

The new requirement will come into force on June 12, 2021, and will replace paper-based daily logbooks. This requirement builds on the regulatory proposal that was published in Canada Gazette, Part I on Dec. 16, 2017.

“The government of Canada is committed to improving road safety in order to keep all Canadian road users safe,” a government press release explained. “Commercial driver fatigue is a long-standing road safety issue, and that’s why the government is taking new measures to address this issue.

“This new requirement is the result of longstanding collaboration among all levels of government and industry partners. It also addresses a Saskatchewan Coroners Service recommendation following the tragic collision involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.

“Electronic logging devices are tamper-resistant devices that are integrated into commercial vehicle engines. They are intended to ensure that commercial drivers drive within their daily limit and accurately log their working hours. The devices track when and how long drivers have been at the wheel, and ensure they are complying with the Government of Canada’s Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

“Use of the devices also reduces administrative burdens, such as eliminating the need for paper daily logs and reducing the time enforcement officers need to verify regulatory compliance. Additionally, these new devices are aligned with the United States road safety regulations and will support economic growth, trade, and transportation on both sides of the border.”

“These new mandatory logging devices in commercial vehicles will improve safety for drivers and for all Canadians,” said Garneau. “Collaboration with stakeholders and partners was key to putting these regulations in place. I thank my provincial and territorial colleagues in helping to develop this technical standard and look forward to them introducing this requirement for operators within their jurisdictions. We know that fatigue increases the risks of accidents and that is why we are taking action across all modes of transportation.”  

Scott Smith, chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, noted: “This regulation will help to level the playing field for compliant carriers and allow them to compete with rates that are achievable in the legal environment they operate in. It will help enforcement officers more easily verify compliance and remove those operators from the road who are not operating legally, improving road safety for all users.”

Added Mike Millian, president, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada:

“The vast majority of our companies and drivers in our industry fully comply with hours of service rules, but, undoubtedly, the implementation of tamper-proof, third-party electronic logging devices will further enhance safety and help ensure all drivers and companies hold themselves to the highest levels of compliance.”

As part of the regulatory development process, Transport Canada is committed to aligning with vehicle regulations in the U.S. to the fullest extent possible provided that it is in the best interest of Canadians.

By further aligning Canadian and U.S. logging device regulations, Canadian and U.S. operators can use the same logging device in both countries.

Transport Canada estimates that the mandatory requirement for electronic logging devices will reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions by approximately 10%.

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Quick Truck Lube opens Napanee location
Trucking News

NAPANEE, Ont. – Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Truckers visiting the newest Quick Truck Lube at Exit 579 on Hwy. 401 in Napanee, Ont., yesterday were treated to burgers and sausages as part of the company’s grand opening celebration.

The newest location is located adjacent to the Flying J truck stop. Owner Gurjinder Johal said the goal is to create a one-stop-shopping experience for drivers who visit the truck stop for food, fuel or rest. No appointments are necessary and trucks are serviced within half an hour.

Yesterday, promotions included $100 off oil changes and free grease jobs for every truck. The 14,000 sq.-ft. facility features three bays for oil service, which can fit three tractor-trailers or six bobtail tractors. There’s also a wash bay.

The new location was four years in the making, Johal told, and construction took one year. He invested about $5 million into the facility. One of the highlights is that there are 11 types of oil on reels, Johal noted, which he said is a first in Canada.

The Napanee location is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. till 3 p.m. About 14 people are currently working at the facility, and Johal said that number will be added to.

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Toronto councillor peeved over CBC stories was privately 'threatening'
Trucking News

'Corruption-related stories' prompted 2 politicians to order up PR blitz, according to allegations

Then-councillor Justin Di Ciano became 'very heated and angry' following a CBC story in October 2016 and made 'threatening' remarks about the CBC and its reporter, according to a lawsuit by political strategist Warren Kinsella, whom Di Ciano hired

A pair of Toronto city councillors hired a scrappy political strategist to wage a multi-front PR campaign after CBC News ran stories examining their ties to local developers, with one of the councillors privately making threatening comments about a CBC reporter and compiling a "research" dossier on him and political foes, according to allegations in a lawsuit.

Then-councillor Justin Di Ciano and Coun. Mark Grimes hired the firm of strategist Warren Kinsella, an ex-adviser to former prime minister Jean Chrétien known as the "prince of darkness" of Canadian politics, and paid him an initial $10,000 retainer, the lawsuit says.

Kinsella's firm sued when they didn't pay subsequent invoices.


The PR campaign was to include complaints to CBC about its reporting, slipping "pertinent information" to competing media, arranging for letters to the editor to be signed by the councillors' friends and relatives, and the creation of "myriad" websites and social media accounts promoting the politicians and their message and attacking a past electoral rival.

"Late on the evening of Oct. 24, 2016, Di Ciano and his brother, Julien Di Ciano, contacted Kinsella and said that he and Grimes were being targeted by CBC News reporter John Lancaster and others, and they wished to retain [Kinsella's firm] Daisy Group to provide public relations," says the statement of claim, which contains unproven allegations that were never tested in court.

Then after midnight, the lawsuit says, "Di Ciano sent an email to Kinsella and other Daisy Group staff attaching five documents containing research about John Lancaster and political critics of Di Ciano and Grimes."


The statement of claim has no details on what those documents contained. 

Di Ciano, who didn't seek another term in last fall's municipal elections, said Sunday by email that he's on vacation in Europe and would try to provide a comment by Monday evening. Kinsella, who has contributed as a political pundit to CBC News and many other Canadian media outlets, wouldn't comment on the lawsuit except to say that his firm eventually got paid.

In the days and months before the firm was allegedly hired, Di Ciano and Grimes had been the focus of a number of CBC stories examining their relationships with developers in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke. Among other things, the reports revealed that both had pushed to rezone lands in a way that would benefit a developer with which Di Ciano had longstanding ties, and, separately, that Grimes had appeared in a promo video for a condo development, which Toronto's integrity commissioner ultimately ruled was "improper."

Later CBC reports examined allegations the pair might have benefited from more than $40,000 in polling and research invoiced to a developer in the lead-up to the 2014 municipal election. Eventually, the two politicians were investigated by an OPP anti-corruption squad and then charged last fall with one non-criminal count each of violating the Municipal Elections Act by submitting incorrect expense declarations for their 2014 campaigns, related to the polling work. Their next court hearing is Tuesday.

Grimes family firm paid $10K retainer, lawsuit says

In the lawsuit, Kinsella says he initially met Di Ciano and his brother in Etobicoke the morning after he was first contacted. Di Ciano handed him payment for his retainer — a $10,000 cheque from the Grimes family trucking company, MGA International Logistics — and said MGA would pay future invoices as well, the statement of claim alleges.

Di Ciano then described "his activities with respect to" one of the controversial Etobicoke developments — which was actually in Grimes's ward — and "what he wanted Daisy Group to do," following which the men discussed detailed strategy for nearly two hours. The statement of claim says Kinsella outlined steps including:

  • Conducting "opposition research" on one of Grimes's political opponents.
  • "Disseminating pertinent information on a confidential basis to competing media, in particular the Toronto Sun."
  • Setting up "myriad internet properties" to promote "helpful news coverage."
  • Coming up with talking points "for Di Ciano and Grimes to use when [they] were identified in further corruption-related stories by CBC News."
  • Posting on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to promote the councillors.
  • Preparing letters to the editor, "which Di Ciano [and] Grimes … offered to arrange to be signed by their friends and relatives."
  • Drafting a complaint to CBC's ombudsperson.

The lawsuit says Kinsella's firm began work on almost all these assignments.

Councillor 'became very heated and angry'

A few days later, the court filing says, Di Ciano "became very heated and angry" after seeing another CBC News report.

"Kinsella made repeated efforts to calm Di Ciano down, and requested that he stop threatening John Lancaster and CBC News," it reads.

It's not clear from the statement of claim what those alleged threats consisted of. 

Kinsella's firm kept up its work for the city councillors, often co-ordinating through Di Ciano's office at city hall, according to the statement of claim. But when Daisy Group issued its first invoice on Nov. 30, 2016, for $16,950, it went unpaid, the lawsuit says. Meanwhile, the firm kept doing work for the councillors.

Then, in January, "Di Ciano called to Daisy Group and, in a loud voice, intimidated and insulted Daisy Group's office manager, who had been sending payment reminders," the statement of claim says.

Daisy Group filed suit in June 2017, seeking $29,570 plus HST for its work. Neither Grimes nor Di Ciano filed a statement of defence.

Grimes said last week in an email that the matter "is not top of mind" and that he wouldn't be able to comment further until this Thursday. He was re-elected in last fall's municipal vote with the backing of Toronto Mayor John Tory.

$10K payment raises concerns

One potential issue raised by the lawsuit's allegations: If the Grimes family's company indeed paid the $10,000 retainer for Kinsella's services, Di Ciano — but not Grimes — may have breached the City of Toronto's Code of Conduct rules around gifts to politicians, experts said.


"It's definitely a gift," said David Siegel, a political science professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., and an expert on municipal governance. But in the case of Grimes, he said, the gift is coming from his own family, so it doesn't create any new conflicts of interest.

"Di Ciano is in a different situation," said Eric Gillespie, a Toronto-based municipal law expert.

"The money wasn't coming from a close friend, or a relative, or his own family's purse or whatever. So that's the kind of relationship that, generally speaking, integrity commissioners and, in turn, the courts do get concerned about — when somebody owes somebody a big favour, and they've created that favour by monetary means."

The issue is moot, however, because Di Ciano is no longer in office, so Toronto's integrity commissioner wouldn't have jurisdiction to field any complaints.

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ACT Research Trucking Index shows nearly across-the-board declines
Trucking News

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed nearly across-the-board declines, with capacity being the lone exception.

The Pricing Index fell considerably to 38.8, in May on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis, the lowest in survey history, from 45.4 in April.

The Volume Index dropped further into negative territory hitting 46.7 (SA), from 49.5 in April. Fleet productivity/utilization slipped to 46.0 in May on a seasonally adjusted basis down from 49.4 in April, and capacity growth increased to 54.6, from April’s 54.3 reading.

“May’s Pricing Index was the fourth consecutive negative number after 30 straight months of expansion. This confirms our expectation that the annual bid season is not going well for truckers,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “We continue to believe rates are under pressure from weak freight volumes and strong capacity growth.”

Volume in May fell for the sixth time in the past seven months, Denover said.

“The softness coincides with several other recent freight metrics, with the drop likely due in part to rapid growth of private fleets and the slowdown in the industrial sector of the economy,” he said. “The supply-demand balance reading loosened to 42.1, from 45.3 in April. The past seven consecutive readings have shown a deterioration in the supply-demand balance, with May the largest yet.”

The ACT Freight Forecast provides quarterly forecasts for the direction of volumes and contract rates through 2020 and annual forecasts through 2021 for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry.

For the truckload spot market, the report provides forecasts for the next 12 months.

ACT is a publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market. ACT’s CV services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, major trucking and logistics firms, as well as the banking and investment community in North America, Europe, and China.

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2019 Top 100 For-Hire Carriers
Trucking News

Economic Expansion Drives Robust Gains for Top Companies

RoadOne IntermodaLogistics

The strongest economy in decades drove big gains in 2018 for most, but not all, of the largest freight carriers in North America.

Despite favorable conditions for the industry at large, early 2019 brought the closure of New England Motor Freight, a major less-than-truckload carrier in the Northeast and Midwest, along with ­other trucking affiliates of privately owned Shevell Group, which ranked No. 70 on Transport Topics’ Top 100 For-Hire Carriers list a year ago.

Mergers and acquisitions continued to rearrange the business landscape as well, although most of the action was among smaller carriers. Two of the most active consolidators in the trucking industry, No. 3-ranked XPO Logistics and Daseke Inc., No. 21, have curtailed acquisitions for the time being.

Tank/bulk specialist Heniff Transportation Systems purchased Miller Transporters in June 2018 and makes its first appearance on the Top 100 at No. 90.

Several other companies also join the list for the first time:

Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport debuts at No. 93 and is one of the few vehicle haulers to show an increase in revenue in 2018.

Red Classic, at No. 81, is the highest-ranked newcomer to the Top 100 list. The carrier is a unit of Charlotte, N.C.-based Coca-Cola Consolidated and, as you might expect, specializes in hauling beverages.

ContainerPort Group and RoadOne IntermodaLogistics also debuted this year with identical revenue and joined a third company, Trans-System Inc., in a tie at No. 86.

PGT Holdings, the parent of flatbed and tank/bulk carrier PGT Trucking and Southern Pines Trucking, a cryogenic and heavy specialized carrier, comes in at No. 98.

Epes Carriers, ranked No. 76 a year ago, drops off the list after selling its truckload/dedicated business to Penske Logistics, while Hub Group falls to No. 12 from No. 8 as a result of a restatement of revenue following the sale of its Mode Transportation business in 2018.

Some of the biggest movers in the Top 100 are companies that boosted revenue without the benefit of any acquisitions. Refrigerated carrier John Christner Trucking climbs 11 spots to No. 89 from No. 100. Flatbed/heavy specialized carrier Melton Truck Lines ranks No. 85 versus No. 93 a year ago, and Minneapolis-based truckload carrier Koch Cos. moves to No. 83 from No. 90.

Two companies crossed the $1 billion revenue threshold for the first time. They are: Evans Network of Cos., an intermodal/drayage conglomerate; and Lynden Inc., a diversified trucking and logistics firm based in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Transport Topics Top 100 and accompanying sector lists rank the largest for-hire carriers in the United States, Canada and Mexico based on annual revenue.

Data come from a number of sources. More than 120 companies submitted information from a survey conducted by Transport Topics. Other data come from financial reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval in Canada.

In some cases, estimates are used to determine annual revenue.

Data on trucking companies in Mexico are provided by Armstrong & Associates Inc., a logistics research and consulting firm based in West Allis, Wis.

Revenue estimates for some U.S. and Canadian carriers are provided by S.J. Consulting Group, along with data first published by Modern Bulk Transporter.

Data on mail carriers was compiled by Husch Blackwell, a Washington, D.C.-based legal services firm.

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Maple Leaf Motoring: Ontario gets new transport minister
Trucking News

Maple Leaf Motoring is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of Canadian transportation. This week: Ontario gets third transport minister in less than a year, Mullen raises capital, the federal government delays trailer emissions standards and new VR videos test rail safety knowledge.

Ontario has a new minister of transportation as part of a cabinet shakeup. Caroline Mulroney was demoted from the post of attorney general to oversee transportation in Canada’s largest province.

Premier Doug Ford announced the cabinet shuffle on June 20. Mulroney, a lawyer and daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, became Ontario’s third transportation minister in less than a year.

The shakeup had little to do with the ministry itself. Instead it reflected widespread public outcry about the Ford government’s extensive cuts.

The Ministry of Transportation plays an outsized role in the trucking industry. It operates 12,000 inspection stations in the province, oversees licensing and registration, and enforces safety rules.

Mulroney has a limited record on the transportation side, apart from a stint on the Windsor–Detroit Bridge Authority, which oversees the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge. But she has visited trucking companies as part of her constituent work as a provincial member of Parliament.

Mulroney replaces Jeff Yurek, now the minister of the environment. Under Yurek, the province introduced a pre-clearance program for inspection sites, and a pilot project for increasing speed limits, which excludes trucks.

Yurek, a pharmacist, had little notable transportation experience when he became minister.

Mulroney is likely to continue the larger policies of the Ford government, which has made a point of reducing regulations for businesses.

Mullen Group closes C$110 million bought-deal offering

Mullen Group (TSX:MTL) announced on June 21 that the Alberta-based transportation and oil services firm closed a C$110 million bought-deal offering.

The offering, expanded from C$75 million, is slated for general company use and could fund potential trucking and logistics acquisitions.

It carries a 5.75 percent interest rate and is due in 2026. It allows for conversion into common stock at a rate of C$14 per share.

Mullen also announced that it had increased its credit facility with the Royal Bank of Canada by C$25 million to C$150 million.

Canadian government delays new emissions standards for trailers

The Candian government has pushed back the implementation of new greenhouse gas emissions standards for trailers to May 2020.

Environment Canada announced the delay in its June 15 Official Gazette. It did so in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Phase 2 regulations being delayed by litigation by trailer manufacturers.

The Canadian regulation is designed to be harmonious with the EPA rules.

New virtual-reality videos test drivers rail-safety skills

Canadian truckers can test out their skills at navigating rail crossings through a pair of virtual reality videos.

The Train to Drive VR videos, produced by Operation Lifesaver Canada, simulate the experiencing of driving across rail crossing, and test users on the effective course of action.  They are available for truckers and commercial bus drivers.

“We tried to incorporate some of the real-world challenges that bus and truck drivers face near tracks and trains, to test their decision-making abilities in real time,” Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada, said in a statement.

Operation Lifesaver is an organization dedicated to preventing collisions at railway crossings.

Challenger opens driver academy

Challenger Motor Freight, one of Canada’s largest trucking companies, has opened its own driver training academy.

The Cambridge, Ontario-based company will begin taking students in July. The school is among a handful run by private transportation firms in Canada.

It will offer a 103.5 hour entry-level course for an AZ license, or an extended 200-hour course, according to The Record. The company plans to interview all graduates for jobs.

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Trucking HR Canada launches new project focused on Indigenous youth
Trucking News

OTTAWA, Ont.  – Trucking HR Canada announced today that it is launching a new project focused on Indigenous youth.

Over the next year, Trucking HR Canada will be working in collaboration with Indigenous organizations to deliver career awareness resources to Indigenous youth in northern Canada.

As the fastest-growing demographic in the country, Indigenous youth, are largely under-represented across all occupations within the trucking and logistics industry, Trucking HR Canada said. The project’s main goal is to provide an array of resource materials geared towards better serving the needs of this growing demographic. In partnership with Carcross/Tagish First Nations, a workshop will be held in 2020 to showcase these career awareness resources and tools in the Yukon.

“We are pleased to partner with Indigenous Services Canada, and the Carcross/Tagish First Nations in promoting the range of careers available in trucking and logistics,” said Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada. “We will also work to build relationships with groups that can help our employers better connect with all labor pools.”

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Plan to fill jobs in Ontario's trucking industry
Trucking News

One of Doug Ford's senior cabinet ministers was in North Bay on Tuesday talking about the trucking industry and the need to help companies find and hire drivers.

Economic Development and Job Creation Minister, Todd Smith, was at the local Manitoulin Transport facility to listen to the concerns from the trucking industry, as well as to announce changes to a provincial immigration program to help ease the labour shortage.

“We're opening up our Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program to allow for these trucking companies to find drivers that want to come from another country. We will help get them on the pathway to a permanent residency, and more importantly, fill a labour shortage need in our own community here in the north,” said Smith.

Stephen Laskowski is the president of the Ontario Trucking Association and says there is a great need for more drivers.

“We're at about 20,000 short per year, and what's going on in northern Ontario isn't just the shortage, we are also having a demographic tsunami. The average age of a truck driver in Canada is over 55-years-old, and in northern Ontario, it's even higher.” said Laskowski.

The minister says a similar plan will be put in place to help attract more personal support workers.

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Drug Cartel Mistakenly Sends $4.5M Of Meth To Canadian Ford Dealerships
Trucking News

A dealer and a dealership are not the same thing.

Criminals have no shortage of finding creative ways to smuggle drugs. The possibilities are endless, keeping law enforcement personnel on their toes. However, one shipment of illegal methamphetamine from Mexico went awry when they ended up at the wrong dealer. Instead of in the hands of drug dealers, the drugs landed at 13 Ford dealerships across eastern Canada, the result of a costly logistical mistake made by the smugglers. Oops.

According to the news release from Ontario Provincial Police, employees at four dealerships, tasked with inspecting the newly arrived vehicles, discovered non-spec spare tires in several of the Ford Fusion sedans. Upon closer inspection, the employees found the tires packed with packages of meth who then called the authorities. Police contacted Ford who provided shipping information for the vehicles.

Cars And Drugs Don't Mix:

Nine of 14 vehicles searched at the 13 Ford dealerships contained meth. Six vehicles on a second rail car from the same shipment in Mexico were also found to contain meth. The police were then able to stop a similar shipment of cars as it entered Canada. Nearly 400 pounds (180 kilograms) were discovered packed into the cars, which the police estimated had a street value of $4.5 million.

It appears Ford and the rail company were exploited by “ a well-established, organized crime group,” according to police, pointing to the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico. Subsequent inspections of vehicles from the Hermosillo, Mexico factory have yielded no drugs. It appears to police the criminals have abandoned tire packing and vehicle shipments to distribute and smuggle drugs.

Drug smuggling is a vast, multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise that’s a modern-day Hydra. No matter how many smuggling lanes police close, smugglers will find new ways to transport drugs. While the cartel is no longer shipping them packed in the spare tires of Ford Fusions, there’s little doubt the drugs are still flowing across borders.

Source: Ontario Provincial Police

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Maple Leaf Motoring: U.S. trucks will need Canadian-certifed ELDs
Trucking News

Maple Leaf Motoring is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of Canadian trucking. This week: What Canada’s ELD mandate means for U.S. trucks, a deadly truck crash outside the Port of Vancouver and Michigan lawmakers take aim at Windsor-Detroit bridge funding.

When Canada’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate takes effect in 2021, U.S. trucks will need to use ELDs certified to operate in the country.

Annie Joannette, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, wrote in an email that Canada’s ELD specifications were modelled after the U.S. “to ensure that a single device is capable of complying with the ELD rules of both countries,” but that it would still be subject to Ottawa’s more rigorous certification process.

Canada’s ELD mandate requires that devices undergo a third-party certification process. This contrasts with the U.S., where manufacturers certify their own devices.  

The Canadian government added the provision in response to concerns that the U.S. certification process opened the door for ELDs whose entries could be falsified.

Existing crossborder ELDs should be able to continue seeing use in Canada, provided they are updated and undergo the certification process.

Joannette wrote that ELD providers will need to update Canadian rule sets, as well as have both the software and ELD model tested by an accredited certification body. Once certified, new and existing ELDs can be updated with new software.

“The deployment of the software upgrade will involve a simple over-the-air software push to the device,” Joannette wrote.

The certification number will appear as part of the ELD device record – easily verified by enforcement officers, carriers and drivers.

Transport Canada is in the process of establishing the certification process.

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Manitoba’s top drivers awarded
Trucking News

WINNIPEG, Man. – The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) announced the winners of the Provincial Truck Driving Championship, which was held June 15 in Winnipeg, Man.

First place winners make up Team Manitoba and include Bruce McKechnie of Bison Transport (single/tandem); Brian Hrabarchuk of Canadian Freightways (tandem/tandem); David Henry from REK Express (super B); and Roy Dhillon of TransX Group of Companies (turn pike).

Other winners from the event include Darren Cassan of Arnold Bros. Transport (first time entrant); Hrabarchuk (Hal Bjornson Memorial Award); Hrabarchuk (grand champion); and Cayla McKechnie for Bison Transport (partner competition).

The MTA also handed out its Driver of the Year award during the 2019 Driver Awards Banquet, which was bestowed on Robert Pigeau of Big Freight Systems.

Others receiving recognition for industry excellence included:

• Lorne Griffin – Searcy Trucking
• Darren Cassan – Arnold Bros. Transport
• Daryl Bateman – Arnold Bros. Transport
• Rudy Kroeker – Hylife Ltd.
• Darrell Epp – Gladstone Transfer
• Ester Nemeth – Bison Transport
• Daniel Schneider – Bison Transport
• Doug Gabb – Bison Transport
• Werner Van Niekerk – Bison Transport

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Thunder Bay council rejects bylaw on truck route
Trucking News

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – A controversial proposal to create a designated truck route in the city has been stalled by Thunder Bay city council.

The council voted 7-5 on Monday night to reject a bylaw, which would have regulated truck traffic, following stiff opposition from businesses.

The council ratified the DTR in March following approval of the concept in January.

The city was looking to close much of Arthur Street and Dawson Road (Highway 102) to anything above 15,000 kilograms, squeezing more trucks onto the east-west Harbour Expressway that runs between the two routes.

The Ontario Trucking Association and the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce had fiercely criticized the DTR, saying it will hit businesses hard.

The plan had been debated on and off by the council for more than 10 years.

It was not immediately clear how the council wants to proceed in the wake of the latest vote.

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Big Story of Today

Today's most read Story is:

Florida's latest oddity: Semi trucks with nobody inside them

Old Articles

Wednesday, June 12
· Westbound Highway 401 opening up east of Highway 416 after fatal crash
· Texas lawmakers approve path forward to extend Interstate 27
· Trucking industry welcomes U.S.-Mexico deal
· Women drivers honored with salute at Atlantic Truck Show
· Maple Leaf Motoring: Will ELDs end cheap hauls to the Yukon?
· Continental renames urban waste transport tires
· 5 ways to avoid trailer wiring problems
· Thunder Bay set to vote on designated truck route
· Manitoba gets funding to help curb heavy-duty vehicle emissions
Thursday, June 06
· Canadian women truck drivers gear up for Moncton Salute

Older Articles


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