By G. Ray GOMPF, CD.
The big story of 2023, the transportation story that demonstrated clearly the importance of our industry and how the various transportation sectors are interconnected, is one of labour unrest.
The interrupted flow of trade especially, through the Port of Vancouver, caused shortages at almost every facet of Canadian life.
Large container ships were not able to unload. These shipping containers, loaded with everything from food to car parts to medicines to clothing, were bottlenecked because almost every west coast Port, in two countries, suffered labour strife and now that the strife has been resolved, the backlog will take months to catch up.
The ordering of newly manufactured Class 8 trucks and trailers was down noticeably, meaning trucking companies were not upgrading their equipment at the same rate as previous years; this was a harbinger for economic slowdown. The question was: is this a coming economic slowdown or simply as a result of the shipping labour unrest? Did higher interest rates exacerbate the slow down? And did the dearth of taxation innovations have an effect on both the inflation rate and the economic shrinking. Even experts charged with providing answers to these questions, that most don’t ask, was mixed. Interest rates were bouncing, and uncertainty was ruling the day.
These economic barometers seem remote from trucking, but quite frankly, trucking is a major barometer of the economy, one that needs to be read first. The needle is perceived, by many business leaders and the general public, to be moving the wrong way.
Fast forward to the year 2024. Nothing seems to be improving.
Environmentally, the use of oil and gas as an energy source, a fuel, is still on the bad list with heavy reliance going toward the refinement and development of mobile electric storage for electric vehicles, which at this point, has more problems than are solved.
The Province of Alberta, with its enormous cache of oil reserves, continues to be suffering a huge locking device being attached to most gas and oil production. Prairie farmers appear to also be on the chopping block for the use of fertilizers for producing food, not only for our country, but the world. Our naturally blessed resources seem to be those resources that run afoul of the environmentalist’s rules with no logical replacements in the pipeline of great solutions; certainly, gas and oil aren’t in any new pipeline.
Hydrogen is being touted as a replacement fuel for the vast needs of the world’s energy needs, but didn’t an event, the Hindenburg disaster, in 1937 settle that question where we need safer, not more volatile, energy. Yes, we’ve come a long way since then, but we still need to take all safety measures before declaring a fuel source as safe.
No single individual in the entire world has the solutions to all of our issues. The environmentalists continue to tout carbon as the bad guy with respect to energy requirements; yet their solutions for alternative solutions pose more questions than resolutions. Governments seem to fly by the seats of their pants, guided by how many votes their positions may garner. Those with vested interests in solutions tend not to be open to contrary concepts. Independent thinkers are criticized to pick a side and real innovation solving issues seems stymied.
The answer seems to be allowing, no welcoming, every cockeyed solution, regardless of how hair brained it may appear, to be examined thoroughly by multiple learned sources until there is unanimity, and hatred is eliminated.
Governments will continue to create divisions, create hatred, create smaller groups of people each with a different agenda to exercise control. All it really takes is to create the recognition of the human race, and eliminate division, including religious, racial, educational, employment, AND create love and respect for all by all.
It seems it may not happen in 2024, but it should and could start.