Canadian Shipper


Turning regulatory challenges into a competitive advantage

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Fundamentally, the business of trucking hasn’t changed much over the past few years.

Robert Low, president and founder of Prime Inc. told attendees at the most recent Driving for Profit seminar that the keys to success remain the same.

“You still have to operate safe and efficiently, watch your costs and charge adequately for what you do,” Low explained. “Don’t over-expand, and focus on your people; take care of them and they’ll take care of the company.”

On the regulatory front, it’s a different story. There have been plenty of legislative changes with more looming on the horizon. Carriers will have to embrace change and adapt to it, if they wish to succeed.

Low pointed out new regulations can be competitive advantages for well-run carriers. Take CSA for example. A carrier that runs a safe operation can use its CSA scores to secure new business and position itself as a preferred partner in the eyes of its customers.

“I think CSA is a game-changer, and while it’s imperfect, it provides a more comprehensive view of each carrier’s safety potential,” Low said. “And now, with the public nature of most of that information, shippers have at least some implicit obligation, if not more than that, to review that information and to make decisions not just based on the lowest price. CSA is going to be a watershed for safe truckers and truckers who can manage CSA and keep those scores good.”

Other regulations on the horizon, including a widely anticipated law that will require the use of electronic logs, will also benefit compliant carriers, and eventually the entire industry, Low noted.

“The driver who’s out there working 110-120 hours a week and crowding it into a 60-hour paper logbook is killing themselves. What good is all the money in the world if you’re sacrificing your health and safety?” Low pointed out. “And in many cases the benefits from all that hard work – and the exposure to the health risks – is accruing to the shippers. Drivers are just making a wage out of that. Wouldn’t it be better if we could cooperate legally, get some rest, improve your health, improve your longevity and make a decent living? That’s a much better outcome than developing this huge efficiency and giving it to the shipper.”

Low said carriers that aren’t using electronic logs will find it very difficult to maintain a clean CSA record.

Low, who serves as chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association, also said he’d like to see the trucking industry take on a more united front when addressing new regulatory requirements.

“Here’s how we’re hurting ourselves the most,” he said. “There are some voices out there saying ‘Don’t pay any attention to CSA. Don’t even look at it. If you don’t look at it, you don’t take on this obligation to the public.’ What’s right about that? There are voices out there that advocate they hate CSA just because of their own profit motivation.”  

The most recent Driving for Profit seminar was held Nov. 13 in Mississauga, Ont. It was hosted by NAL Insurance and sponsored by Dalton Timmis Insurance, sister publication Truck News and Daimler Truck Financial.

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