‘They stole it right in front of us’

‘They stole it right in front of us’

MISSISSAUGA, Ont.Harpreet and Mohinder Chadde have had enough – they have been victims of alleged cargo and vehicle thefts, three times in the past year.

Mohinder Chadde
“How can we survive?” Mohinder Chadde at his office in Mississauga. Photo: Abdul Latheef/Today’s Trucking

The owners of Talhan Transport, a small company based
in Mississauga, they are reeling, financially and emotionally.

“How can we survive?” asked Mohinder Chadde during an interview with Road Today, our sister publication.

The couple have been in trucking since 1996, and
started the company in 2005. Of late, their efforts to grow the business have
been stymied by falling freight rates, cut-throat competition, unavailability
of reliable drivers and now, theft.

The latest incident happened Dec. 20, the last day of
work before Christmas. Harpreet Chadde and her husband had barely left the
office, when someone alerted them of the theft.

“We left the office at 4:53 p.m. and at 4:58 p.m. my
truck was gone,” she said.

That means they were being watched by the criminals, Harpreet
Chadde said.

She said the thieves took the tractor because they
wanted to steal a trailer somewhere else.

Police were informed as the couple rushed back to
their office.

“It was Friday night. I called the cops. They said it may take two-to-three hours. I waited for the cops here in the office until 10. After that, I went home. Nobody came,” said Harpreet Chadde.

Later that night, following a tip, the couple tracked the truck down to Malton, about 20 km from their office.

Cops ‘way too busy’

“We asked the police to come and release the truck to
us,” said Mohinder Chadde.

But they were “way too busy”.

Police also advised the couple against attempting to
recover the vehicle on their own, warning that would amount to potential theft.

Around midnight, someone went back to the truck,
heated it up for about 20 minutes and drove away as the couple sat in their car
and shot a video of the crime.

“They stole it right in front of us,” said Harpreet
Chadde.

Cops came to their office the next morning and left
after taking notes.

Two more harrowing days would pass before the couple
would recover their truck, dumped in Malton.

By then the Volvo rig had been driven 350 km, was on the Express Toll Route twice for which Talhan received an invoice, and wasn’t the truck they saw the last time.

One fender and the grill were broken, the fridge and the heater were ripped off the cab. In all, the losses were estimated at more than $16,000, with Talhan on hook for $5,000 in insurance deductible.

The couple said they had been penalized for no fault
of theirs.

“And I don’t know how much the insurance will go up by at renewal,” added Mohinder Chadde.

The first burglary at the company site happened in
March 2019, and lasted almost five hours. A gang of four came and tried to open
the truck and trailer, but was unable to do so.

“Then they called a mechanic… Yeah, I have the
surveillance of everything,” said Harpreet Chadde.

Mohinder Chadde
Mohinder Chadde. Photo: Abdul Latheef/Today’s Trucking

The thieves could not find anything, because the trailer
was empty. Frustrated, the gang left with whatever tools were in the truck, she
said.

Talhan doesn’t keep any loaded trailers in the yard
for safety reasons.

The company is C-TPAT compliant, which means voluntary
enrolment in the U.S.-led Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program.
Members are eligible for streamlined inspections and shorter wait times at the
border.

That made no difference to the thieves, though.

Harpreet Chadde said police have told trucking
companies that they are operating in a high-risk area.

“If you guys know it is a high-risk area, then why not implement something to stop the thefts,” she asked.

ISB Global
ISB Global’s Crisis Response Center in Plantation, Fla. Photo: ISB Global

Ground zero of cargo theft

“A target-rich environment.”

Former police officer Mike Proska quoted from the 1986 Tom Cruise-starrer Top Gun to describe the situation in the Peel Region, where cargo crime has been a major problem for years.

“So, where there’s
going to be a high volume of goods, that equates to a high volume of
opportunity,” Prosca said.

He runs the
private investigation agency Burloak Investigative Services, based in Burlington, Ont.

Proska spoke to Road
Today
in late March when Ontario was ramping up efforts to stop the spread
of Covid-19.

“They just steal non-stop, no matter what’s going on.”

– Mike Proska, president, Burloak Investigative Services

In the third week
of March, he said, there were four cases reported to his company alone.

“They just steal
non-stop, no matter what’s going on,” said Proska.

Peel, comprising
Brampton, Mississauga and the Town of Caledon, has in recent years emerged as
the trucking capital of Canada.

Along with the
fame has come notoriety — as the ground zero of cargo theft.

But it has been
making progress steadily, with Peel Regional Police reporting a substantial
reduction in cargo and vehicle thefts last year, when they registered 173 cases.

That is sharply
down from 341 in 2018, but still a lot.

Seed money

Todd Moore
Todd Moore. Photo: ISB Global

“I always say that
cargo theft is the seed money,” said Todd Moore, another former police officer.

“It is that seed
money, or the profits made from cargo theft, that help fund other criminal
activity like drug importation.”

Moore should know.

He is vice-president of cargo theft and specialty risks at ISB Global Services, a Milton, Ont.-based company that provides investigative services.

He said more
profits are made from the trafficking of drugs than from commodities or real
estate.

Moore said there
are dedicated groups that handle each step of the operation, which is modeled
like a business undertaking.

“They have storage
warehouses. They are almost like, you know, Costco or Walmart where they have a
variety of different products… They have brokers and a distribution system… It
is like a logistics company.”

Why Peel?

Peel Region
Map: Region of Peel

The No. 1 reason
why cargo theft is such a problem in the Greater Toronto Area is that the GTA
has one of probably the most unique landscapes for organized crime groups,
Moore said. The Peel Region is part of the GTA.

“You got
traditional organized crime groups, you got Eastern European organized crime
groups, you got Asian organized crime groups, South Asian organized crime
groups… all actively involved in cargo theft.”

Another reason,
Moore said, is the easy access to one of the biggest airports in North America
– Pearson International – and to the 400 series highways.

Proska, of
Burloak, said there are probably at least half a dozen crews or quasi crews –
investigative lingo for criminal groups – operating throughout Ontario.

“We often see a
crew or two from Quebec coming into Ontario and do thefts here as well, and
then take the goods back into Quebec.”

Ironically, Peel
and the neighboring York Region have dedicated units to fight cargo thieves.

“Chances are, unless the thief has a horrendous criminal record, he probably is not going to do jail time for the offence if caught, which causes a lack of deterrence.”

– Todd Moore, vice-president, cargo theft and specialty risks, ISB Global Services.

Moore, however,
acknowledged that there is a lack of deterrence as well as loopholes in the
justice system that the criminals are taking advantage of.

He said if someone
is caught with a couple of keys of cocaine that person will end up in jail for
up to two years, but if someone is caught with a trailer load of stolen goods,
there are a number of factors that prosecutors have to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction.

“And at the end of the day, cargo theft is by definition a property related offence. So, chances are, unless the thief has a horrendous criminal record, he probably is not going to do jail time for the offence if caught, which causes a lack of deterrence.”

Moore also said that
police are facing budget restrictions in the fight against cargo theft as they
have to prioritize their focus amid a multitude of different types of criminal
activity.

Still, Proska
doesn’t see any enforcement issues in Peel.

“They have
probably the best enforcement team in the country as far as trying to catch and
put away all these cargo thieves.”

Burloak offers services that cuts investigative red tape sharply, Proska said.

“As soon as a
cargo theft is reported by one of our clients, we commence our investigation.
We basically put boots on the ground the minute we are notified.”

First line of
defence?

Moore thinks the
best and easiest way to put a dent on theft is placing GPS trackers in every
trailer.

He calls GPS the first line of defence, but less than 15% of trailers in Canada have GPS devices on them.

Moore said the general public considers cargo theft as a victimless crime, too.

“When
you peel back the onion, cargo theft is more than a property crime. It is an
organized crime problem.”

Published at Tue, 02 Jun 2020 11:37:48 +0000

Rogers partners with Fleet Complete to offer fleet management tools

Rogers partners with Fleet Complete to offer fleet management tools

TORONTO, Ont. – Rogers Communications has partnered with Fleet Complete to offer customers a full range of commercial fleet management and asset tracking offerings, the companies announced.

The collaboration will offer connected technologies, including vehicle and asset GPS tracking, to fleets that operate across Canada and the U.S.

“In partnership with Fleet Complete, Rogers is bringing Canadian businesses the latest in critical fleet management solutions,” says Dean Prevost, president, Rogers for Business. “With Fleet Complete’s innovative IoT platform, powered by Canada’s most trusted network, we are enabling fleet-owning businesses of all sizes to elevate the customer experience and use smart technologies to drive cost-effectiveness and improve safety.”

Tony Lourakis, founder and CEO of Fleet Complete added, “We are very excited to partner with Rogers, a leader in IoT, to bring leading-edge telematics solutions to more Canadian businesses. Together, we will deliver smart solutions to municipalities and bring new opportunities to the people they serve.”

Published at Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:23:17 +0000

Omnitracs lab focusing on hyper-local weather, parking deserts

Omnitracs lab focusing on hyper-local weather, parking deserts

TORONTO, Ont. – Today’s vehicle-based data offers information about trailer locations and more. But work at the Omnitracs Innovation Lab is taking a hyper-local focus – building new insights into everything from local weather conditions to parking deserts.

The Chicago-based group, which operates like a
separate start-up company within Omnitracs, was created a year ago with the
goal of using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to solve
industry problems.

Location-based data about hyper-local weather or parking deserts could be integrated into Omnitracs products within the year. (Photo: Omnitracs)

“With enough of the right kind of data, we believe most events are predictable,” says Michal ‘Mic’ Yariv, vice-president and general manager – strategic initiatives, during a related webinar. And that even refers to events like mechanical breakdowns, accidents, and detention times at a shipper’s location.

With
the right information, the trucking industry can focus more on time than
mileage as a key metric. That, she said, is particularly important in an era of
electronic logging devices (ELDs).

There’s
already a lot of data to be had. Omnitracs has 10,000 customers, and monitors
about 1.2 million trucks per day, generating 30 terabytes of position-related
data per year.

“Having
so much of this data allows us to produce insights that you can’t really
produce on your own,” she said.

Still, the local details make a difference. It’s why drivers still turn to their peers on social media for insights into how long it takes for a particular customer to unload trailers. There are limitations to social approach, though, since the answer can vary depending on the day of week, time of year, and type of equipment.

It’s led the lab to focus on activities around 6.69 million unique locations, tapping into the anonymous, aggregated data from individual trucks.

Looking beyond traditional geofencing, the Omnitracs lab added a layer of GPS points to see where trucks accessed the locations, and related spots like security shacks and bobtail parking lots. From there, they began to calculate dwell times. Online posts by drivers were analyzed to add yet another layer of data.

“If you
do this across thousands of trucks, and thousands of visits, then you can start
understanding the patterns,” Yariv said.

Patterns
in weather can be monitored more closely as well.

“There’s so much work being done right now in generating new source of weather data, it really helps,” Yariv said.

Connected cars can identify when a group of vehicles have activated windshield wipers. Artificial intelligence can monitor the images on traffic cameras.

Even the signals from microwave towers offer insights.

“When they’re emitting microwaves and sending them, there’s a difference between a perfect wave and a wave that’s distorted,” she explained. The end result can identify precipitation at a hyper-local level, generating alerts within a truck, or notes for safety and operations teams.

By plotting locations when drivers are in their sleeper berths for five hours or more, Omnitracs is also looking to identify parking deserts — the locations where drivers might be forced to stop on a highway or park at an interchange.

“Our
work here isn’t done,” she said, referring to the lab’s ongoing work to
identify acceptable locations like terminals, gas stations, and rest areas.

It’s all
closer to science fact than science fiction. Omnitracs expects to roll out some
of the related location-based intelligence data in its products within the
year.

Published at Thu, 14 May 2020 18:06:49 +0000

Testing of e-documents for dangerous goods shipments underway

Testing of e-documents for dangerous goods shipments underway

Transport CanadaOTTAWA, Ont. – Transport Canada has begun testing the use of electronic documents for dangerous goods shipments, the federal agency announced on its website.

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations currently requires a physical paper shipping document to follow most dangerous goods while they are in transport.

The documents include information on the goods being transported and give first responders the information they need to respond to incidents when they occur.

“Unfortunately, paper documents can be lost or destroyed, which can cause delays in emergency response,” Transport Canada said.

It said electronic documents offer a number of potential benefits, as they can be:

  • Easier to read;
  • Simpler to update;
  • Quicker to share with emergency responders;
  • Integrated with other digital business processes;
  • More flexible and able to give Canadian businesses a competitive edge; and
  • Aligned with international regulations.

The two-year project will look at using electronic documents across four modes of transportation: air, marine, rail, and road.

“No specific technology or system will be imposed by this project, because we are interested in evaluating a variety of platforms and technologies,” Transport Canada said.

The agency is looking for carriers, shippers, first responders, enforcement personnel and other stakeholders to participate in the project. They can do so by submitting feedback or completing questionnaires.

More details are available here.

Published at Mon, 03 Feb 2020 14:51:46 +0000

U.S. bill promises billions for highways, would delay HOS rule

U.S. bill promises billions for highways, would delay HOS rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. infrastructure bill unveiled yesterday would fund highways and clean transportation efforts, but also delay a final hours of service rule, and push for a rulemaking on driver detention and changes to the CSA safety rating program.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure introduced a US $500-billion, five-year infrastructure bill, proposing to spend nearly double last year’s US $287-billion Senate version, which at the time was described as “the largest highway legislation in history.”

Highways would be targeted with $319 billion,
prioritizing fixing broken and outdated infrastructure, including 47,000
structurally-deficient bridges.

(Photo: iStock)

The House’s Investing in a New Vision for the
Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act would measure state-by-state greenhouse gas
emissions, offering incentives for reducing carbon pollution, and boosting the
funding for charging stations and fueling options used by electric and
zero-emission vehicles.

It includes $4.6 billion over five years for the U.S. Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration, with part of that used for a new Large Truck
Crash Causal Factors Study.

Opinions about the bill

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) released a statement supporting provisions such as increased funding for highway construction, US $250 million for truck parking projects, provisions that will help limit excessive detention time and predatory lease-to-own schemes, new restrictions on tolling, and analysis of H-1B Visa use within the trucking industry.

But the association said it was
concerned about provisions that would return CSA scores to the public before
the system is perfected, and delay implementing FMCSA’s final hours of service
rule that was published June 1 and scheduled to take hold in late September.

The bill would require the
Transportation Department to delay the hours of service rule until 60 days
after submitting a “comprehensive review of hours of service rules and the
impacts of waivers, exemptions, and other allowances that limit the
applicability of such rules.” The bill would require that report to be
completed in no more than 18 months and published in the Federal Register for
public comment.

The bill also directs the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change its personal conveyance guidance
to establish specific mileage and/or time limits.

It calls for the department to
initiate a rulemaking on a regulation that would establish limits on the amount
of time a driver can be detained by a shipper or receiver without compensation,
too.

American Trucking Associations
President and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement, “This draft legislation
contains significant investment in our country’s roads and bridges and
approaches highway and truck safety from a data-driven perspective. And while
we may not agree on every provision therein, this is a real and commendable
step on the part of the committee to advance the process in the House and ultimately
arrive at a negotiable solution with the Senate.”

Partisan Politics

The bill drew swift reaction from
House Republicans and other critics saying a more bipartisan approach is
needed.

Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
Ranking Member Rodney Davis, and Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and
Hazardous Materials Ranking Member Rick Crawford (R-AR) made a joint statement,
saying the bill “lacks critical flexibility for the states, its outsized
funding increases for urban areas will leave rural America even further behind,
and numerous new green mandates and extreme progressive goals are woven
throughout the fabric of new and existing core programs.”

American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials executive director Jim Tymon praised the
committee for taking the first step in reauthorizing surface transportation
programs before they expire this fall.

“Transportation has traditionally
been a bipartisan issue, and both sides of the aisle will have to work together
to get a surface transportation bill over the finish line,” he said. “We remain
encouraged that infrastructure appears to be a priority in both the House and
the Senate and we look forward to working with Congressional leaders to enact
legislation before the expiration of the FAST Act that will fully fund the
highway trust fund and ensure the nation’s transportation system remains the
backbone to economic vitality and overall quality of life.”

 “With historic unemployment, tremendous unmet
infrastructure needs, and less than four months before the expiration of
surface transportation programs, this is no time for another partisan approach
to infrastructure,” said Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive
vice-president and chief policy officer.

The INVEST in America Act is highly unlikely to make it into law in its current form. It first must be passed by the full House, and then the House and Senate must work on creating a compromise bill before it can go to the president’s desk for a signature.

In addition, regardless of the form of the final highway reauthorization bill, Congress must still determine how to pay for it.

  • This article is offered through a content sharing agreement with Heavy-Duty Trucking Magazine.

Published at Thu, 04 Jun 2020 12:37:11 +0000

Manitoba creating alternative truck route to oft-flooded PTH 75

Manitoba creating alternative truck route to oft-flooded PTH 75

WINNIPEG, Man. – The Manitoba government will pave Provincial Road 246, to give commercial trucks an alternative when Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) 75 is flooded.

The paving will cost $16 million, and will cover the stretch between PTH 23 near Morris, Man., to PR 205 near Aubigny. This will allow trucks to be rerouted around the sections of PTH 75 that are most prone to closure, the province announced.

“As part of the damage prevention and climate resiliency measures we announced last November, we have identified several local priority projects that will provide greater protection to Manitobans,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “Investing in a flood-proof route from Winnipeg to the United States border and six shovel-ready projects are additional steps our government is taking to help rebuild Manitoba’s economy and support our municipalities through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Since 1996, PTH 75 has been closed approximately once every four years for an average of 24 days, the premier noted. The upgrades will create a flood-proof route from the U.S. border at Emerson to CentrePort Canada in Winnipeg.

Manitoba Logo

Published at Thu, 04 Jun 2020 18:13:30 +0000

Ontario infrastructure projects get $42M

Ontario infrastructure projects get $42M

PETERBOROUGH COUNTY, Ont. — The federal and
provincial governments have announced funding for 10 road and bridge projects
in Central and Eastern Ontario.

Ottawa is investing over $22 million in these projects while Ontario is contributing more than $10 million, the two governments said Friday. Municipalities and First Nation communities are each contributing over $5 million.

The James. A. Gifford Causeway
The James. A. Gifford Causeway. Photo: Infrastructure Canada

In Peterborough County, improvements are being made to
1.4 kilometres of the James. A. Gifford Causeway, including repairs to the
Chemong Bridge.

An additional 5.3 km on Yankee Line (County Road 14)
are also being rehabilitated.

This is a joint project by Peterborough County and the
Township of Selwyn.

These improvements will increase safety for motorists
and pedestrians, and extend the life of the bridge and roadway for many years,
the two governments said. 

“Rural communities are the backbone of the Canadian economy. By investing in projects like these, we are helping to make them stronger and more competitive.”

– Maryam Monsef, minister for rural economic development.

Other projects include road improvements in
Asphodel-Norwood, Beausoleil First Nation, Collingwood, and Hiawatha First
Nation.

In addition, bridge repairs and replacements will
create safer and more efficient conditions for users of the roadway in
Adjala-Tosorontio, Faraday, Highlands East, Minden Hills, and the Mohawks of
the Bay of Quinte.

“Rural communities are the backbone of the Canadian
economy. By investing in projects like these, we are helping to make them
stronger and more competitive,” said Maryam Monsef, the federal minister for women
and gender equality and rural economic development.

“Not only will these vital projects help create
well-paying jobs during the construction phase, they will have long-lasting
benefits for residents and businesses for years to come.”

Funds for the projects will come from Investing in
Canada Infrastructure
Program.

Under the plan, Ottawa is investing more than $180
billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social
infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and
northern communities.

Published at Fri, 19 Jun 2020 17:31:53 +0000

Five tips to becoming a successful dispatcher

Five tips to becoming a successful dispatcher

I thought I would give some time to dispatchers, that group of individuals who are either the most loved or most despised individuals in most trucking companies.

I have been a dispatcher. As with most folks who start a trucking company from the ground up, you end up performing almost all of the jobs until some critical mass has been achieved and you find that you are required to step back and play more of an administrative role. As with anything else in life, there were elements of the job I loved and there were parts I absolutely hated.

I always believed that if you had 40 loads and 40 trucks to move in a day, all in the right spot, it could be done by anyone in the office. But if you have 50 loads and 40 trucks, you’ll need a good dispatcher. There is an enormously gratifying feeling of accomplishment when confronted with copious amounts of freight to move and a limited amount of trucks to move it on when at the end of the day it is all covered. It can be a complicated game of chess.

The relationship between dispatcher and driver is as complicated as any in this world. Dr. Phil would go nuts trying to get all the bugs out. It is often a non-stop game of push and pull; the driver wants to know three moves in advance where they are going and what the freight is. The dispatcher is trying not to say too much for fear that the next load falls through and they will be accused of diabolical gamesmanship. All this being said, there are some simple rules that can make the relationship work to both parties’ benefit.

(Photo: iStock)

The support of the dispatcher

Whoever is doing the hiring must know that first and foremost, the foundation of the relationship must be solid. This is accomplished by knowing what each party’s expectations are of each other. If you’re a company that specializes in 2,000- 3,000-mile turns and the driver your company is hiring has to be home every weekend to get their kids, guess what, this isn’t going to work.

Spell out exactly what you expect of the driver including notice of time off needed, any particulars of the freight that needs to be discussed, check-in requirements, availability for work, etc. Get it in writing – your dispatchers need this information to ensure there is a successful relationship.

Have driver spell out expectations of dispatch

They may need to have every weekend off for family, they might have an upcoming series of professional appointments that need to be made, they may suggest that they expect to be dealt with respect. They might say that they have to get 10,000 miles a month to be successful. Whatever the individual’s expectations are, review them and make sure that you can accommodate them.

If the expectations of the individual cannot be met, you are going to have an ongoing issue with this driver until they quit or you fire them. Get it in writing signed off by both parties and review it each and every pay period.

Be honest, always

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it isn’t for everyone. If you, as a dispatcher, decide it would be easier for you to B.S. a driver a little to get an extra load covered, you are playing with fire and are likely to be looking for a new career shortly. Integrity and honesty have to be the cornerstone of your relationship with your drivers. As soon as you get caught just once in a little white lie, you’re done. This information will fly though the driver fraternity quicker than grass through a goose and you will not be trusted from then on.

Be consistent, with everyone

The last thing any driver needs is to think that some other driver is getting preferential treatment. Spread the sweet with the sour evenly throughout all of your drivers – do not favor anyone.

This will cause dissension and mistrust and when you’re called on it, you’re done. Every driver or owner-operator who has decided to spend their career at your company deserves every opportunity you can grant them to be successful. Remember that and you’ll be fine.

Never talk down to a driver or colleague

This one gets under my skin. Everyone on this planet deserves the right to be dealt with, with respect.

I was recently at a company that had a dispatcher the drivers hated. All the drivers despised this person, but the customers loved them.

What a crock! This person had never driven before, and I don’t have a problem with a dispatcher who hasn’t been on the road but it’s walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes time here folks. I have a million safe miles under my belt and I am proud of that. I also know that it can be a lonely lifestyle.

I know what it’s like to not be available when things go sideways at home and you’re two days away, etc. Now it’s time to talk to my dispatcher and they’re going to talk down to me? I don’t think so!

At the end of the day, this is a pressure-packed business and unfortunately people don’t always show their best colors when they are under stress. Now add in the pressure of Covid-19 and quite often emotions rather than common sense rule the day. Follow the rules and take deep breaths. Have an empathetic approach to problem-solving. These are two qualities each side of this situation need to practice with great effort to be successful.

Safe trucking,

rjh

Published at Thu, 18 Jun 2020 11:29:13 +0000

A look at race relations in trucking

A look at race relations in trucking

TORONTO, Ont. – Trucker
Ahmed Issa still remembers the testy conversation between two of his former Hyndman
Transport colleagues, one white and the other African-Canadian, a few years
ago.

Ahmed Issa
Ahmed Issa says the situation has improved “a lot” over the years. Photo: Ahmed Issa.

Apparently angered by the white driver’s attitude toward immigrants like him, the black man said, “You will soon be working for immigrants.”

“And, guess what
happened!” Issa said.

“Hyndman went bankrupt last year. Now both of them are working for a company owned by immigrants.”

The Somali-Canadian has been driving trucks in Canada for 25 years, and he believes the situation has improved “a lot” over the past few years.

It is not just workplaces
where minority drivers encounter problems.

Julius, who
doesn’t want his full name to be used, said he had been harassed by a white police
officer during a routine truck inspection because of his color.

“But my colleagues
treat me well,” Julius said.

Munroe
Munroe Thompson says his experience has been “pretty cool”. Photo: Munroe Thompson

Happy driver

Each driver’s
experience is unique.

Jamaican-Canadian Munroe Thompson said he never faced any discrimination in the 26 years he has worked at Erb Transport, and that he “gets along very well” with his colleagues.

Thompson, however,
said he had heard about problems at other trucking companies. He said his
friends were turned away when they approached some companies for jobs.

“I am just going
to be honest with you. My experience is pretty cool,” Thompson said.

“If I say there is a problem in my company, I would be lying. There is an open-door system, and all companies should be like that.”

Tragedy sparks
debate

Last month’s police killing of an unarmed black man in the U.S. has sparked a fresh debate on racism there and in Canada, with many activists arguing that the situation is not much better here.

The latest poll on racism in Canada showed that 61% of those surveyed
believe there is systemic racism in the country.

The Abacus
Data-CityNews poll was released last week amid continuing global protests over George
Floyd’s death.

It also showed
that more than two-thirds of Canadians think discrimination is common in the
country.

Len
Chaplain Len believes truckers need to socialize more. Photo: Abdul Latheef/Today’s Trucking

Building
bridges

What about the
trucking sector?

Today’s
Trucking
asked Len Reimer,
who drove trucks for 15 years before becoming the lead chaplain of Transport
for Christ mobile church in Woodstock, Ont., in 2002.

“I would like to
think that they are getting along well, but we do hear some negative comments,”
Reimer said referring to friction between immigrant drivers and white truckers.

“I wish that was
not the case,” he said.

Chaplain Len
Chaplain Len Reimer. Photo: Abdul Latheef/Today’s Trucking

Reimer attributed
the problem to a number of reasons including fears about job security and a
lack of socialization.

Reimer suggested
truckers should put their differences aside and work on becoming socially
friendly.

“I have spoken
with young immigrants. They were looking for personal friendship, and they were
having difficulty acquiring that.”

And he said, the
reason for that was white Canadians were “not necessarily accepting the
immigrants.”

“We (white
Canadians) need to socialize and build a bridge with them,” he said.

But socializing
goes both ways.

Issa, the trucker referred to at the beginning of this story, said he often finds people of all backgrounds staying in their own comfort zones, without interacting with each other.

“People don’t
socialize that much.”

Sikh Festival
The face of Canadian trucking has changed over the past two decades. Here, truckers at a celebration in Toronto last year. Photo: Abdul Latheef/Today’s Trucking

Changing face

The demographics
of trucking have changed dramatically over the past 20 years, with immigrants
from all over the world taking jobs traditionally held by white Canadians.

A study published in 2018 by Newcom Media, the parent company of Today’s Trucking, revealed that South Asians accounted for 43.7% of immigrant truck drivers in 2016, up sharply from 8.7% in 1991.

There were 22,000 driver positions open in Canada as of October, and pre-pandemic estimates suggest that the country would need close to 50,000 truckers by 2024.

Diversity and inclusion

With young Canadians not exactly flocking to the career, an increasingly common option is hiring more immigrants, which also means companies need to embrace diversity wholeheartedly.

Trucking HR
Canada has published
a range of material on diversity and workplace inclusion.

Trucking HR Canada
Angela Splinter. Photo: Trucking HR

“People come
to today’s workplace with different backgrounds and different needs and
expectations,” said CEO Angela Splinter.

“As employers look to manage a more diverse workforce, a review of recruitment and retention approaches is needed, along with a review of workplace practices, protocols and policies to ensure an inclusive workplace. “

Splinter said diversity is the mix, and inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.

Diversity is the
hallmark of Canada’s largest trucking company, TFI International.

“The proof is in
the people. We have got people from all kinds of backgrounds – different
countries, different religions and different perspectives,” said David
Saperstein, chief financial officer at the Montreal, Que.-based conglomerate.

U.S. protests continue

Protests over the death of Floyd have continued unabated in the U.S., and in Minneapolis, Minn., where the tragedy occurred, a truck driver was arrested May 31 after he drove into a large group of peaceful demonstrators.

Officials believe the driver’s action was not intentional. He has since been released, and the investigation is continuing.

The incident has prompted the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and other industry lobbying groups to issue warnings to truckers about potential problems.

They urged the drivers to take proper precautions and avoid areas of social unrest.

Published at Fri, 19 Jun 2020 13:02:20 +0000

Swift action, government subsidies support Mullen Group rebound

Swift action, government subsidies support Mullen Group rebound

OKOTOKS, Alta. – Mullen Group provided a mid-quarter update
today, to update investors on how its business has been impacted by the
Covid-19 pandemic.

“The trend is up,” said Murray Mullen, chairman and chief
executive officer of Mullen Group.

Mullen Group quickly laid off 1,000 employees as the Covid-19
outbreak crushed freight demand. It has now brought back about 20% of those
employees, the company said, as freight volumes have begun to recover.

Mullen revenues have fallen about 22% year-over-year over
the past two months, but LTL revenues fell only about 15%, in line with
competitors and the railways, Mullen said in a call with investors. EBITDA has
fallen only 15% due to cost-containment measures.

(Photo: Greg Decker)

“We are seeing the benefits of adapting quickly and
decisively to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. “Not only did our business units
implement effective measures at controlling costs, several actually gained
market share and improved margins.”

Mullen also benefited from about $10 million in Canadian
Emergency Wage Subsidy payments, which helped support about 1,500 jobs in the segments
most affected by the loss of business. That support, said Mullen, “virtually made
us whole.”

Mullen, who earlier said the “wants economy” had disappeared,
now sees consumers purchasing those nice-to-have items, which is stimulating freight
growth, especially in the LTL segment.

“We think consumers have cash and are itching to spend,” he
said.

The warehousing and logistics segment was down 20%, due to a
steep drop in cross-border traffic. That too is improving due to the reopening
of factories, but has not yet returned to pre-Covid levels. Mullen sees the segment
improving over the remainder of the year.

Mullen Group is projecting Q2 revenue of $240-$260 million
and EBITDA of $40 million, before adjusting for government subsidies.

“This is not what we want, but considering the
circumstances, I feel pretty good about the performance of our business,”
Mullen said.

The company has actually grown its cash balance to $115
million, up nearly $30 million from the end of March. The company said it will “re-engage
on the acquisitions front.”

Published at Fri, 12 Jun 2020 16:50:05 +0000