DAILY NEWS Nov 13, 2012 9:23 PM - 0 comments

MTO weighs in on Walmart's supercube trailers

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TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has answered some of the questions surrounding the use of a 60.5-ft. “supercube” trailer developed by Walmart.

As reporter earlier, Walmart officials said they have received permission from the provincial government’s ministry of transportation (MTO) to conduct a pilot project to test two tractors and four trailers to demonstrate the units are capable of being operated safely.

The announcement that Walmart would be responsible for the pilot caused the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) to issue a notice citing concerns about this project. Among the OTA’s main objections was that the shipper would be responsible for conducting the pilot and for ensuring the safe operation of the trucks and trailers instead of the actual carrier — which Walmart named as Interstate Freight Systems Inc (IFS) — and that by allowing this to happen the MTO was radically altering the trucking regulation landscape.

Bob Nichols, a spokesperson for the MTO, told sister publication MM&D this pilot will follow in the same tradition as past pilot projects, especially when it comes down to who is responsible and answerable for the trucks and trailers.

“There is no change as to how these permits are being handled,” says Nichols. “The permits for this limited pilot will be issued to Walmart’s carrier and not to Walmart.”

Additionally, he says the carrier must have a good safety record.

“Carriers with ‘Conditional’ or ‘Unsatisfactory’ Carrier Safety Ratings may not qualify for permits. Carriers with such ratings must immediately cease operations.”

Nichols says that at this point in time, the trucks and trailers aren’t on the road, and they won’t be put into use until the details of the pilot have been finalized.

“The ministry is currently in the process of sorting out the details of how this very limited and controlled trial operation will take place. MTO is working with industry to finalize the conditions for trial operations, including how many carriers would be allowed to participate.”

Click here to read the full story in MM&D.

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