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Western Canadian Fleets: New Rules Can’t Undercut Truck Reliability


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Today's Trucking / May 21, 2015

Truck operators in Western Canada say if there are going to be changes to regulations for tractors, trailers and engines they have got to meet the unique needs of their area.

That’s according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which recently visited western carriers to get their views on potential changes to greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations that are expected to be released next month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Canada is expected to duplicate adoption of the rules.

CTA said carriers operating in the west echoed the feedback it received at a special session at its annual general meeting in Scottsdale, AZ in March.

They were adamant that if Ottawa is to bring in new vehicle, engine and trailer requirements, they must ensure that equipment imported into Canada is ready and proven to operate into the Canadian marketplace.

This includes be able to withstand the area’s extreme weather conditions and be designed with failsafe measures to ensure drivers and equipment do not get stranded in remote areas.

“It’s clear the carrier community and drivers cannot withstand another round of regulations that introduce more service and downtime issues for their vehicles,” said CTA Vice President of Operations Geoff Wood.

According to CTA, due to changes in environmental regulations in recent years, carriers have needed to add between 10% to 20% more power units to build redundancy in their fleets just to ensure they have enough running trucks to service their customers.

Fleets claim that drivers are being stranded in the middle of nowhere because of reliability issues, facing not only loss of income but severe cold and heat for countless hours.

“Trucking costs related to downtime and service issues are through the roof. Our western carrier members said the only area for growth in trucking is in the towing and service industry,” said Wood.

CTA said western carriers attribute these rising costs and reliability challenges to regulations forcing equipment suppliers to provide technology not ready for specific markets throughout Canada.

These carriers also told CTA that Ottawa must start introducing equipment importation requirements into Canada that ensure such things like wiring and electronic systems are designed for winter operating conditions.

CTA said it is set meet with eastern carriers over the coming weeks to get more input on similar equipment issues.

Following these meetings, CTA, with assistance from the research firm FP Innovations, will prepare a position paper that reflects what it believes are the industry’s preferred technological approach to truck engines, tractors and trailers that will be impacted by the next round of GHG regulations.

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