The Ontario (Canada) Trucking Association (OTA) is calling upon motor carriers, drivers, and shippers to work together to ease pressures at the border and to keep essential deliveries moving. David Bradley, OTA president, says he has had excellent cooperation from shipper groups, “but we need to get the message out more broadly.”
He adds that carriers say it is getting hard to convince drivers — most of whom are paid by the mile or by the load — to continue taking loads out only to be stuck for 14 or 15 hours at the border, without reasonable compensation.
Between trucks being stuck in border line-ups and drivers not wanting to take their vehicles out, Bradley says there is a real fear that the transportation system may run out of capacity.
Among the things he suggests should be considered are:
Does the load really need to go all? Or can it wait until things calm down somewhat? Many shippers have indeed delayed or canceled shipments recently. However, not all of the trucks now stuck in border delays likely are carrying essential products.
Shippers and carriers need to agree jointly to some reasonable compensation for drivers stuck in border delays.
Refusal of loads, or performance charges/fees for shipments that miss just-in-time delivery windows, should be waived and tolerance shown.
OTA is working with federal and provincial authorities on plans to ensure shipments of essential products receive priority attention. The association is also suggesting some tolerance in enforcement of driver hours-of-service regulations.
Trucks haul 80% of Ontario's trade with the United States. Sixty-five percent of Canada's trade with the United States crosses at the Ontario border points at Windsor, Sarnia, Fort Erie, and Niagara. On a typical day, a truck crosses the Canada-US border once every 2½ seconds.