COVID-19 Daily Bulletin: April 27

APTA: Generating Revenues on the Backs of Trucking is a Bad Idea

The idea was proposed this week through a report to Saint John Common Council. The City wants to generate $1M in Revenues on the backs of trucks by imposing a tax or permit to haul goods in the city.

Trucks are an essential service, the lifeblood of local economies, and the cornerstone to Atlantic Canada’s Covid-19 response and recovery, which makes the City of Saint John’s consideration to impose this on trucking a monumentally bad idea.

“Our industry pays more than its fair share to start,” explains Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association executive director Jean-Marc Picard. “Fuel taxes, excise taxes, small business taxes, licensing fees, property taxes, and the list goes on.”

Trucks move freight to and from the Saint John region and are key to helping businesses get their goods in and out of the city. This will only make Saint John’s businesses less competitive and have a negative impact on economic growth for the city. With respect, this is not a solution to challenges faced by the city or any level of government anywhere in Canada.

“More tax is the last thing our industry needs, especially at this time when businesses are suffering. This new proposal will hurt trucking and costs will be passed on to customers.”

Freight Market Conditions: 

Globe Reports on ‘Empty miles’ Concern Among Truckers

Due to the shutting down of non-essential businesses across the country because of COVID-19 restrictions, truckers are racking up more and more “empty miles” – driving empty trailers that generate little or no revenue.

“We are hauling a lot more empties than we used to because of the virus,” said Mr. Phillips, who’s been driving long haul for 33 years.

“There are days where I’ve hauled two empties all the way back.”

A few weeks ago, many trucking routes would have seen drivers haul essential goods on one leg of the journey but non-essential items, such as auto parts, snowmobiles or bathroom fixtures, on the other leg. No more.

“Any route that’s non-essential, that’s where we’re hauling empties,” Mr. Phillips said.

The empty-miles phenomenon is putting increased strain on a vitally important industry that already operates on spindly margins.

“Trucks are paid to move from point A to B, and from point B back with a loaded trailer. Trucks are not paid, for the most part, if there is not product in the back of that trailer,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of Canadian Trucking Alliance, which represents 5,000 member companies.

Full story here.


Freightwaves: Most Canadian trucking companies aren’t TFI. Many need help 

The CEO of Canada’s largest trucking company didn’t mince words about COVID-19 when he discussed first-quarter financial results on April 22. TFI International’s Alain Bedard likened the pandemic’s impact to a tsunami.

But TFI will almost certainly survive COVID-19 and likely come out stronger. It has millions of dollars in cash, hundreds of millions more in untapped credit, and ruthless operating efficiency in its core Canadian and U.S. truckload businesses.

“We’re not going to lose money in the second quarter, that’s for sure,” he said.

Other Canadian carriers may not survive the quarter. TFI represents an exception in Canada, where only eight trucking companies employ more than 500 people. TFI has more than 16,000 employees across North America, and nearly 10,000 owner-operators in North America.

Full story here.

  TMC Launches New Resource for Maintenance Operations Amid COVID-19

The American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council, leaders in the development of recommended maintenance and engineering practices for commercial vehicles, is now serving as a conduit of information as to how maintenance operations can sustain, protect and facilitate trucking’s critical role in fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Full story here.


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