David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), said recent fuel surcharge discussions involving the provincial government and National Truckers' Association (NTA), representing independent operators and OTA, have been productive. OTA has participated in discussions between the Ontario government and NTA aimed at averting protests.
“There is still a lot of work to do both within the industry and between the industry and government,” said Bradley, “but I am encouraged that the provincial government appears to have been listening. It has hinted at the possibility of regulating fuel surcharges on freight rates if all our customers, the shippers, don't become part of the solution. In addition, they have told us that the establishment of a provincial-federal-industry committee to examine longer-term economic conditions and structural concerns is being considered.” OTA has called on all motor carriers operating in Ontario to help resolve the crisis by:
Imposing fuel surcharges. Current market conditions clearly justify assertive action by carriers to be fairly compensated for all the services they provide, OTA says.
Imposing general rate increases. Truck rates have been stagnant since the 1980s. (The Freight Carriers Association of Canada recommends a rate increase of 5.5%).
Charging shippers for ancillary service/wait times. Refuse to pay shipper fines and no-compliance fees, OTA says.
Passing fuel surcharges to independent operators. OTA says 100% of all collected fuel surcharges should be passed on to owner-operators, in relation to the proportion of owner-operators in a fleet. This is unless the carrier and owner-operator have agreed to other remedies.
OTA has agreed to sit down with NTA and other owner-operator groups to discuss common guidelines for contracts between carriers and independent owner-operators and a Code of Best Practices for owner-operator/carrier relationships. OTA has also called upon Canada's chartered banks and lending institutions to cut independent operators some slack on their truck payments during this period.