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Friday, April 23, 2021

CTA Calls for Comprehensive Approach, Partnership to Spur Truck Technology Innovation and Investment

Trucking alliance appears before Commons Standing Committee on Transport

OTTAWA – Emerging technology and innovation is making the trucking industry the safest and the most environmentally friendly mode of transport in North America, Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) President David Bradley told a committee of federal MPs today in Ottawa. And, he added, with a little bit of government support trucks can achieve even further gains in these areas.

Invited by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to speak about innovative trends in commercial truck equipment, Bradley provided examples of the technological revolution the trucking industry is currently undergoing – smog-free trucks, GHG-compliant tractors, LNG tractors and GHG-compliant trailers.

Flanked at the hearing by Claude Robert, president of Robert Transport who was invited by the committee to speak to the opportunities and challenges for growing Canada’s LNG fleet, Bradley said that the economic interests of the trucking industry have never been more closely aligned with the safety and environmental goals of society than they are now.

“Proven technology exists today, right now, that can make our industry even safer, that can level the competitive playing field and make the air we breathe cleaner,” Bradley said in his testimony. “The industry is moving in this direction, but the goal should be to accelerate the penetration of this equipment into the marketplace.

“Trucking is an under-capitalized industry in Canada,” he continued. “We can either wait 20 years to maximize the safety and environmental impact that is possible, or we can partner with government to re-quip our fleets over the next five years, through a combination of regulatory and fiscal measures such as accelerated capital cost allowances, repayable grants and regulation.”

On the safety front, Bradley explained the safety and productivity benefits of electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) and urged the legislators to get behind  CTA’s proposal to mandate EOBRs on all trucks currently required to keep a paper logbook. He also highlighted the advancements in anti-rollover technology, such as electronic stability control and recommended Canada get to work on following suit with the U.S.’s intention to mandate this technology by 2016.

Environmentally, trucking is already at the leading edge having eliminated smog-producing emissions from new diesel engines, said Bradley. But unlike the regulations that ushered those technologies into the market between 2007 and 2010, upcoming fuel efficiency/GHG regulations in both Canada and the U.S. are not as prescriptive and are likely to have a more modest impact. Moreover, Bradley argued that in order to maximize the GHG impact of the new regulation currently under development it should be accompanied by a program of complementary measures aimed at retrofit/new investment in GHG reducing technology for trailers.

“You’ve really got to look at the entire tractor-trailer combination — both new and existing,” he said.

Bradley called for leadership from Ottawa as well as a “common view and coordinated approach” among all interested federal departments responsible for overseeing Canada’s stated GHG reduction commitments.

“By working more closely together, policy makers across various levels of government can remove jurisdictional regulatory impediments and boost incentives that will undoubtedly help the trucking industry accelerate investment in proven CO2-reduction and fuel efficient technologies,” said Bradley.

Several members of the Committee were particularly interested in the advent of liquefied natural gas-powered trucks in the market. Claude Robert, whose fleet has several dozen LNG trucks operating between Toronto and Montreal, addressed the issue, testifying that LNG is a viable environmental technology but more must be done to stimulate  investment, build a fueling infrastructure network and harmonize size and weight standards to accommodate LNG trucks nation-wide.