Goodaye all. I am in Burlington Toronto Canada, staying with Bruce Outridge and yesterday we attended the Great Canadian Truckshow at Flamboro. It has been an interesting couple of days and does show, you never know who you will meet or where it will lead.
Years ago I had spoken with Stan Campbell, a Canadian truck radio show host, doing an interview over the phone about trucking here. I had contacted Stan prior to the Churchill Fellowship trip and he had said contact him when I get to the USA, which I did and we did an 18 minute interview about the trip. Stan followed up with an email, listing some other contacts he suggested I try and speak with.
The first was James Menzie who is the editor of TRUCKNEWS based in Toronto and I rang and contacted James who was under a deadline and couldn’t come to me, so I went to visit him in the new offices only opened a couple of weeks ago. We chatted and taped an interview and as we got back to the foyer, I was asked are you the Aussie? Another call I had made to Bruce, though it seems he had trouble understanding my wide Aussie accent on the phone in a noisy environment and had asked his wife to track me down on my phone.
Using it here has lead to some not being able to call me back, but Carmen did and had rang just as I arrived at James’ reception. I had though it was James, as I was a bit late and Carmen asked where I was. I gave the address and Bruce had been on his way there for an interview about the new offices and the merger of two trucking publication houses coming together here.We then filmed a podcast and Bruce knows all these people very well having worked with them for years. Bruce then did the podcast he had come to do with Manan Gupta the new General Manager of Newcom South Asian Media Company and I was then invited to tag along for a tour of the new floor of offices and met more staff. We had a cup of coffee and met some more of the team there and Bruce asked where I was going next.
My initial plan had not born such magnificent fruit as this series of events and I did not have a specific aim when that did not go as well as hoped, but had moved straight on to visit James. However, Bruce told me he was attending a truckshow the next day and invited me to stay with him and then attend. Bruce and his lovely wife Carmen took me in and fed me and have looked after me like family for the last three days and I cannot thank them enough, for adopting an Aussie truckie a long way from home.
Bruce is an avid industry advocate here, having been an owner operator, driver and was awarded 2011 Industry Ambassador, writes about the industry, does podcasts under the banner, Lead Pedal Podcast and is not only a passionate trucker, but a talented artist and caricature artist as well.
This was only the second year for the truckshow and attending on Friday being the set up day, had only a number of very keen and passionate people there. But all of the trucks were beautiful and there were drivers doing all the last minute touch ups and polishing for the real full on show for Saturday and Sunday. The driver shortage or is it a pay shortage in the USA, is the biggest people issue in the industry wherever I have gone. The UK is looking for drivers, the US and Canada as well with a number of companies attending, aiming to recruit drivers to the fold.
Some companies had a truck and or staff on hand and hope to get some good leads and drivers during the days of the show. Being set up day and having 85 trucks last year, I can only imagine they will have a fantastic turn up of trucks and wish them all the best for the show. A barbeque was held for all attending Friday night, but we left to have some tea and Bruce has other commitments today, so I am trying to catch up here, before hitting the road.
I spent time on the phone with Matt Richardson from the Truck Training School Association of Toronto, another contact from Stan, but all of those Stan put in contact with are friends and industry colleagues and have all been interested and welcoming.
Canada was the birthplace of the b-double and where Australia got the idea from and that was the reason I wanted to include Canada in my itinerary. There are still very new looking combinations on the road in the same original spec, prime mover with a tri-axle and then a bogie and from my perspective, we have gone a long way from there, going then bogie/tri, then tri/tri, quad/quad super b’s and now up to the very recent announcement of a b-quad. With such different weight laws in the many states of the US, Canada has both a Federal regulation, but each of the provinces has its’ own as well. Sounds like the bad old days in Aus, perhaps we have actually moved forward, even if only with some things, with the NHVR.
I have a couple more contacts to follow up and thank all in Canada, particularly Bruce and Carmen for their hospitality and friendliness.
I am off now to visit Kenworth at Chillacothe, then Cummins in Jamestown where they make the ISX 15 we use with such gusto in Australia, then a truck show in Eau Claire and onwards towards the Great American Truckshow in Dallas. It has been a long way across the USA and into Canada, lots of photos, some interesting drivers and videos, though most are happy to talk, not all want to be videoed and I am still collating and asking, “What is you biggest road safety concern on the highway here?”
There is much alignment with our issues at home, some variation on who or what is the worst, but my aim is still the same, to ask and to learn and put a friendly face forward for Aussie trucking. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey http://www.truckright.com.au