Recently the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada was granted an in person meeting with the office of the Federal Transport Minister in Ottawa. PMTC Chairman Dennis Shantz, who is also Fleet Services Manager for Home Hardware Stores, and myself, met with Senior officials from the office of the Honourable Marc Garneau. The meeting was used as an opportunity, among other things, to formally introduce the PMTC to the relatively newly elected and appointed members of the Transport Ministers office.
Private Trucking represents roughly 50% of the class 8 trucks on the road today, and an estimated 85% of the urban trucking fleet. For this reason, we wanted to ensure the Minister was aware of the vital importance of the Private Trucking Fleet, and ensure they understood the importance of having Private Fleets a represented stakeholder on all matters related to the Transportation Industry. We also took this opportunity to ensure the Minsters office was aware of what we considered some of the hot topics today, and what the stance of the PMTC and its members were.
Vehicle Weights & Dimensions
While we acknowledge the great work that has been done over the years by the Vehicle Weights and Dimensions working group, through the CCMTA, which has made great strides in improving uniformity between the Provinces and Territories, and for this they should be congratulated, however, much work still needs to be done. As a few examples. We are still waiting for uniformity in weight allowances for wide base single tires right across the land. In some jurisdictions weight penalties are still applied compared to duals, which, in many cases, eliminates a fleet from being able to spec this option for cross country travel.
Boats tails are currently only allowed in 1 Province (Quebec recently announced it will be allowing them as of April 6th, bringing the count up to 2…). Boat tails and wide base single tires are proven to increase fuel economy, which in turn saves fuel, reducing GHG’s. We must allow fleets to take full advantage of these options.
6 x 2’s are also a hot topic, and are handled differently in every jurisdiction it seems. We are pleased that Transport Canada’s ecoTechnolgy for Vehicles group has been assigned to study the benefits and Issues this technology brings with it, and make recommendations after all studies are conducted. This is also a known fuel saving technology, and as such we need to ensure the option is fully studied so a decision can be made as to what will be allowed on our highways, and at what weights. PMTC is happy to be included in this Technical Working Group.
Another issue that we believe needs to be addressed, while acknowledging this is a longer play as a result of insufficient infrastructure, is a long term plan for a National LCV standard. LCV’s obviously provide huge benefits as far as reducing fuel usage per trailer, and in turn, GHG reductions. They also help in reducing congestion on our roadways, and can help in part to tackle the expected driver shortage. In order to allow for a National LCV network, we need to have a long range plan to 4 lane a Trans Canada Highway network from Coast to coast…..
GHG Heavy Duty Vehicle Emissions
The USEPA is in the final stages of its consultations to set a final standard that will meet the targets outlined by congress. Transport Canada recently held it’s first consultation meeting with Stakeholders in Toronto
(PMTC is a stakeholder in this group). The standards start in 2018 for trailers, and 2021 for Heavy Duty CMV’s, with further targets for 2024 and 2027. While we understand that Canadian Standards will need to closely align with the US standards, we can’t stress enough that it can not simply be a cookie cutter approach. In Canada we have increased weights and vehicle lengths when compared to our US Counterparts 80,000lb tandem tandem National configuration. We also have more extremes in weather and geography…as a result, the Canadian Fleets must have more options available to them when spec’ing vehicles in order to deal with these factors. We also must ensure the technologies that are needed to meet the proposed standard’s are ready for prime time….the industry simply can’t afford to deal with the un reliability that came with the previous rounds of emission reduction technologies….nor should they have to.
National Highway Funding Model
The PMTC believes the federal government needs to play a much larger role in the design, funding, standards and implementation of a larger strategic plan that serves the bests interests of the entire country, not just those of an individual jurisdiction. The lack of an on going funding model for our Trans Canada routes can, more times than not, lead to a disjointed system that lacks uniformity. The Provinces and feds must work more closely together and come up with an on going funding system that reflects the vital importance of the transportation network to our economy. The patchwork approach that is in place now, quite frankly, is a bit of an embarrassment for a modern country in the 21st century. The failure of the Nipigon River bridge in Northern Ontario, which effectively severed the Country from East to West, was proof of what a lack of a National Plan can lead to, and the dramatic effect it can have on our economy.
MELT and Skilled Trade Designation
We brought the Minsters office up to speed on the progress made to date on Mandatory Entry Level Training in Ontario (which the PMTC has been heavily involved in as a stakeholder) and in the USA. We encouraged Transport Canada to get involved and work with all Canadian Jurisdictions to institute a MELT standard for CMV drivers across the land. We also raised the issue of the un skilled trade designation reducing funding opportunities and making it harder for the industry to attract new drivers to the industry. We encouraged the feds to look into this designation, and changing it to skilled, to better reflect the skill required from todays drivers.
The PMTC has long been in support of the EOBR mandate, and was pleased with the Fed’s recent announcement of future implementation. We did however encourage Transport Canada to continue to work with the Provinces and Territories to have this mandate implemented for each Jurisdiction across the land, to ensure all carriers have a level playing field, and it is not just a standard that effects carriers that cross Provincial Boundaries. We also need to ensure the technical standards closely align with the standards that are expected to come into effect in the USA in December of 2017.
The PMTC also congratulated the Minister’s office on it’s announced mandate of Electronic stability control systems, and encouraged them to have this occur as soon as the next model year.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the issues the Transportation Industry is dealing with today, it gives you an idea of some of the issues your association is working for on your behalf. We believe the recent meeting with the Minister’s office was very productive and went well, and we expect it to lead to a more open line of communication going forward. If you have any issue’s you would like raised or would like to discuss, we are your dedicated association for Private Fleets, please ensure to reach out to us.
About the Author
“Mike has 25 years’ of wide ranging experience in the trucking industry, performing such duties as a livestock and grain hauler for 3 years, followed by 5 years of long haul across North America hauling refrigerated and general freight. Mike was also a full time certified driver trainer for 2 years, and then transitioned into Safety and Compliance for 2 years, and then spent over 12 years as a Fleet manager for a Private Fleet. Mike is now the President of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, Canada’s only National Association that represents the views and interest of today’s Private Fleets.” Mike can be reached at email@example.com