Ontario motor carriers are considering some vigorous and inventive approaches to manage the traffic congestion expected from the upcoming Pan Am Games, according to a survey released by the Ontario Trucking Association.
While there is significant concern among respondents that traffic delays will affect their ability to service customers, it’s clear from the survey that trucking companies who have been able to engage more proactive customers have had better success planning a cooperative transportation strategy and putting contingencies in place.
Nearly 90% of respondents said they are anticipating increased congestion and lengthy delays during the Games. Despite the widespread concern, only 52% of respondents were able to develop some sort of alternative strategy in advance of the Games. A majority of the other half of respondents who were less successful in working out a plan cited the “lack of customer engagement or willingness to admit the Games may have a meaningful impact on the carrier’s ability to service them” as the main reason.
Those who have managed to work more proactively with their customers indicated a variety of approaches, including cancelling normal ‘guaranteed’ levels of service during the Games; working with customers to add flexibility for appointment times; or switching delivery schedules to off-peak times. However, respondents pointed out that schedules and delivery times are completely controlled by the customer and adjustments can only be made if the customer is willing to accommodate the changes.
More creative solutions cited include reaching temporary arrangements with customers to share the cost of using Hwy 407 ETR during the Games period. Other carriers (nearly 43%) indicated they have either implemented or discussed applying a ‘surcharge’ during the Games as a means to recoup the anticipated cost increases resulting from congestion. How ‘surcharge’ was defined or how it could be applied varied among respondents, with some carriers suggesting a geographical flat rate and others considering a surcharge based on the proximity to busy Games venues.
For the most part, carriers are looking to customers to share some of the costs, with several respondents suggesting they would not deliver to customers who refuse to bear at least part of the burden.
While time will tell how much of an impact the Games will actually have on traffic and operations, it’s apparent the Pan Am Games is amplifying carriers and their customers’ long-held concerns associated with GTA traffic, congestion and goods movement, says OTA.
For a more detailed summary of the survey, click here: OTA Pan Am Games Survey Report_public
As part of OTA’s Pan Am Games awareness strategy, the Association will be hosting MTO and Pan Am officials at its office (555 Dixon Rd, Etobicoke, ON) to explain to carriers preparation plans for the freight sector. Carriers are invited to listen to the information and address any other outstanding questions or needs. If you are interested in attending this event, CLICK HERE for registration details.