OTA Urges Cooperation, Patience for Carriers and Shippers
Sep 13, 2001 12:00 PM
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. “The backlog of trucks at the major Ontario-US border points is testing the limits of the North American distribution network, and no one is expecting things to change in the foreseeable future,” says David Bradley, OTA president. “Trucking companies and their drivers are doing the best they can and are totally understanding of the reasons why the stepped up border checks have been implemented.”
Bradley says he has had excellent co-operation from shipper groups, “but we need to get the message out more broadly.”
He adds that carriers are saying 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.
“We’re all in this together, truckers and their customers,” says Bradley, “and the need for co-operation has never been greater.” Among the things he suggests should seriously be considered by both parties are:
*Does the load really need to go all? Or, can it wait until things calm back down somewhat? Many shippers have indeed delayed or canceled shipments this week. However, it is likely that not all of the trucks that are now stuck in the border delays are carrying what might be considered essential products.
*Shippers and carriers need to jointly agree to some reasonable compensation for drivers that are stuck in the extensive border delays.
*Refusal of loads, or performance charges/fees for shipments that miss just-in-time delivery windows should be waived and tolerance shown.
In addition, 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 the enforcement of driver hours of service regulations during this time.
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 two and a half seconds.