OTA Addresses Senate Committee on Infrastructure Climate Change Impact

OTA’s chair and staff appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Transportation and Communications last night to discuss the impacts of climate change on infrastructure and supply chain resiliency in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway regions.

OTA was also provided an opportunity to address trucking issues related to the functionality of marine-truck intermodal relationships.

OTA was represented by OTA Chair James Steed, Stephen Laskowski, president & CEO, and Geoff Wood, Sr. VP, Policy.

Highlights of their remarks provided are below:

Truck-Marine Intermodal

  • The existing intermodal connections between truck and marine across the Ontario port network are working well and the trucking industry works hand-in-hand with the marine sector to support the supply chain when opportunities arise;
  • A dramatic shift in marine-truck business patterns because of warmer winters along of the Great Lakes and the Seaway has not materialized to date.
  • Other factors limiting expanded use of marine include: unpredictability of rapidly forming ice, low water levels as well as necessary maintenance that requires a shutdown of various aspects of locks and canal systems.
  • Through a series of comprehensive transportation planning initiatives, the province of Ontario, led by the Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) Marine Strategy and Regional Transportation Plans, has addressed truck-marine opportunities and continues as an evergreen process.

Road Infrastructure

  • Milder winters along the 401 corridor has improved the functionality of highway operations, providing more reliability in the supply chain, including the opportunity to operate Long-Combination Vehicles (LCVs) on a more frequent basis.
  • Substantial work has been undertaken by MTO and maintenance contractors to introduce best-in-class winter road maintenance standards. And the Ontario 511 app provides real-time information to supply chain businesses including info on plowing operations across the province.
  • The importance of addressing consistency in winter road maintenance across provincial jurisdictions must remain a priority to build on the work the Privy Council has undertaken on inter-provincial trade barriers.

Supply Chain Resiliency

  • In the event of extreme weather or infrastructure related events that limit redundancy in the highway network, the ability to utilize the in-transit program to move trucks through the US toward their destination in Ontario or other parts of Canada is an important consideration.
  • A continued focus on truck rest areas is necessary along the national highway system (NHS) and national trade corridors for truck drivers to get their mandated rest under the hours-of-service requirements.
  • In the event of a localized disruption that would require additional truck capacity to assist marine operations, there would still be a need to be mindful of the truck drivers’ hours-of-service regime and that the rules are in place to ensure drivers have adequate off-duty periods.


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