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Ontario Truckers Feeling Good About Industry's Future

TORONTO— Ontario’s truckers are reporting stronger freight and rate counts and are more optimistic than they’ve been in years.

In Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) second-quarter 2014 survey of business conditions, carriers showed across-the-board improvements and also said that rates are keeping pace with volume increases.

Freight Volumes

Although this time of year is usually slow for trucking, the OTA found:

  • 65 percent of carriers said southbound freight volumes improved in the previous three months – the highest percentage ever recorded since OTA started the survey in 2008;
  • 59 percent more carriers said that intra-provincial volumes jumped;
  • 62 percent of carriers saw a surge in U.S. northbound lanes (highest since 2011);
  • 41 percent said inter-Ontario freight has increased.

Looking ahead at the next six months, more carriers see growth:

  • 63 percent of carriers expect volumes within provincial lanes to go up;  
  • 77 percent expect inter-provincial volumes to keep climbing;
  • 73 percent expect growth Southbound.


  • 62 percent of carriers said U.S. southbound rates have skyrocketed;
  • 31 percent said rates have improved in all other lanes;
  • 47 percent said rates improved intra-provincially;
  • 41 percent said northbound U.S. rates have gone up.


  • 58 percent of carriers said capacity is shrinking;
  • 22 reported flat capacity;
  • 58 percent said they want to add more drivers and owner-ops;
  • 46 percent expect capacity to tighten more in the future;
  • 80 percent said contract timeframes are not changing.

Carrier Costs

Driver wages are going up as the competition between carriers to retain drivers heats up.

  • 90 percent of carriers said wages for both drivers and owner-ops have gone up – most by two to four percent;
  • About half of carriers said wages for owner-ops were up by five percent and a quarter of carriers said driver rates were up by five percent;
  • Only 12 percent reported fuel hikes of 15 percent or more, but three in four carriers reported overall fuel price increases in the five-to-10 percent range.

Carriers say their top concerns are:

  • 14 percent are worried about the economy;
  • 63 percent are worried about the driver shortage;
  • 22 percent are worried about capacity and rates.  
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Many truck driver continue to get other jobs as trucking rates are too low to compete with other jobs out there. I was at a job fair and many people looking at driving said that they need to make a min of 30 cents per km plus $20,00 per hour for waiting time. One midsize trucking company is paying $1.32 per mile plus plates and insurance plus a 48 cent fuel surcharge and they are getting 10 owner-operators applying for each opening