Trucking industry growing within Manitoba


Kira McCormick-Adema 

The Neepawa Banner

Whether it’s regulatory or technological, there are always changes within the trucking industry. But drivers and transportation companies don’t have to face the challenges alone, the Manitoba Trucking Association, MTA, is always present to provide valuable information and advocacy, allowing members to focus on their core business, while the MTA works administratively on members’ behalf, to supply them with accurate information and help ensure regulations meet the needs of the industry and the public.

The industry plays a vital role in Manitoba’s economy. Everything you touch has most likely been moved by a truck to get where it is. There are over 28,000 Manitobans directly employed by the truck transportation sector and with more than 14,000 trucks on its highways and roads, annually. Manitoba collects $318 million in fuel tax and $156 million in road related licenses and fees. Trucking contributes more than $2 billion to Manitoba’s GDP annually, and more than 450 for hire trucking companies are based in Manitoba. Trucking is also important to Manitoba’s export economy, trucks account for 95 per cent of land freight trade between the province and the United States and Highway #75 moves roughly $19 billion in trade between Manitoba and the United States.

It’s hard to imagine Manitoba without trucks, “Not only does trucking connect our rural communities with employment opportunities, the rural communities rely on the industry for delivery of every day items. These items would be anything from groceries, fuel, building supplies and everything in between. Some northern communities rely solely on our industry to help connect them to these everyday items,” said Don Stewart, Senior Business Development Manager at MTA.

Moving the industry forward

Technology is always advancing and plays an ever-increasing role in the industry. In order to become more energy efficient, technology with an emphasis on fuel reduction has become a valuable asset, something that’s good for both the environment and the bottom line. Some of these advancements include wide based tires, Aerodynamic side skirts, anti idle devices, solar panels to charge batteries, speed limiters, aerodynamic boat tails and gap fairings.

The industry relies on its drivers and keeping them healthy and happy is important. With approximately 1,100 workers injured on the job each year, the Manitoba trucking industry saw the need for a trucking-specific safety association to help them address occupational injuries, with a focus on prevention to minimize risk. This lead to the creation of the RPM program.

By providing services tailored to trucking, RPM is available to all members of the industry, not just MTA members. Similar to the COR program in the construction industry, RPM provides training, education and advisory services. RPM in specifically targeted to the trucking industry and takes into account its unique working environments, making it easier for employers and workers to engage in positive safety and health practices. In addition to helping to reduce injuries and their associated costs, participation in RPM can result in savings on WCB premiums. Stewart said that some participants are saving up to $250,000 per year. RPM does not address issues directly related to road safety compliance (National Safety Code or Motor Carrier Enforcement), but these issues are strongly supported by the Manitoba Trucking Association.

Since it’s establishment in 1932, one of MTA’s major roles is to work with all levels of government to advocate for industry specific issues. One of the largest advocacy challenges facing the industry at present is carbon tax.  The industry isn’t opposed to the idea of carbon tax,  “In fact, the Manitoba Trucking Association and its affiliates had established a dialogue with the former NDP provincial government to come up with a strategy aimed at cutting carbon emissions,” says Stewart, “We actually put forth a proposal (The GrEEEner Trucking Fuel Efficiency Initiative) several years back, and it’s still on the table. We suggested an industry-imposed levy of half a cent per litre on taxed diesel fuel, along with a whole host of other initiatives aimed at using less fuel and therefore actually spending less on fuel. Then, the Trudeau government got in, and a carbon tax became the in-thing.” In its present form, both the MTA and the recently elected Progressive Conservative provincial government are opposing the Federal Liberals’ proposed carbon tax. “Like the provincial government, we’re opposed to a one-size-fits-all carbon tax,” says Stewart. “At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be about a tax, but about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

As Manitoba keeps moving by truck, MTA and the industry will keep working to create a safe and healthy business environment to help the industry move forward.