Canada ‘s trade-based economy is at risk, unless political leaders adopt a new industrial strategy that creates a "Canadian advantage" for businesses to locate in Canada and which recognizes the essential role played by the freight transportation sector, said David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, David Bradley, in a speech to the North American chapter of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport in Ottawa.
" Canada ‘s number one economic priority must be to maintain efficient access to the US market. Since most of the trade between the two countries moves by truck it is imperative that Canadian manufacturers and shippers have access to efficient, productive and predictable highway and border infrastructure, otherwise direct investment will flow south of the border and there will be no need for trucks, trains, planes and ships," he said.
Bradley said overall freight transportation is taken for granted in Canada and trucks are at best considered a necessary evil by policy-makers.
The current Canadian transportation policy also "provides no vision or inspiration," he said. "It relies on a narrow and outdated notion that the solution to all the world’s ills is to somehow reduce the number of trucks on the highways by forcing a modal shift from truck to rail."
"The truth is we need all the modes. Service is the name of the game. Truck and rail are both at capacity. Government policy should be focused on improving the efficiency and productivity of all modes with the ultimate goal being increased aggregate demand in the economy which will in turn generate more freight for all modes not more for one and less for another," said Bradley.
He warned that unless government transportation policy becomes more enlightened "freight will soon be left on the dock and the economy will be choked."