The Tides Are Turning

As 2017 winds down, we are seeing the same trend we’ve been faced with for years, however, this trend is being kicked into overdrive due to recent major changes in the industry.

Looking ahead 2018 is going to see a dramatic increase in demand for freight service, this demand running alongside a tightening capacity has highlighted the ever-present driver shortage. As James Menzies tells in his article, Slow, sustainable growth sets stage for a strong 2018, USA truck loads are up 2.5% compared to a 0.1% increase last year. LTL tonnage in the US has increased 1.1% after dropping 0.7% in 2016. As a result, there are less American carriers operating in Canada and therefore causing a greater demand for service in the Canadian cross-border market.

As the electronic log mandates narrows in, there will be an even playing field amongst Canadian carriers, this mandate as of December 18th, 2017 is going to stop carriers and drivers from driving/working outside legal hours furthering demand for transportation services.

Without a doubt, we are in a serious adjustment period and no one has the answers for the distant future, ultimately the industry should concentrate on changes within grasp, which are outlined much clearer. Pay equity and improved efficiency will maintain our existing fleets at least for the short term.

 As a result, increased driver pay is at the centre of every discussion, in order to maintain our current fleets and keep existing drivers in the industry. Pay equity and quality of life can no longer be ignored. Operating costs for carriers have also risen by 25% over the last five years.

As Joanne Ritchie highlights in her article, Finding a work-life balance that works, she talks about the responsibility the employer has to acknowledge the different “generations attitudes and values with respect to work and life”. Canada has four generations in the workforce at the same time, all with different wants and needs from their bosses. Ritchie tells of the importance of this responsibility has been highlighted in a recent study done by Health Canada titled the National Study on Balancing Work, Family and Lifestyle. This study found a strong correlation between a person’s level of job satisfaction and loyalty to their organization. As people lose faith in their job or gain unnecessary job stress their absenteeism significantly increases, which was calculated to “cost Canadian companies over $4 billion a year in direct costs.”

The answer lies within those statistics; drivers are going to have to feel they are being offered a good work-life balance, compensation costs, a wage that reflects their devotion to the unforgiving industry and a supportive employer. Carriers are going to have to find a way to introduce these promises and follow through with them to keep their drivers.  

To be treated fair with fair pay and fair compensation will go a long way towards existing drivers but it is hard to say what it will take to attract new hires in a younger generation, where a greater emphasis on quality of life is very visible.

If you have any suggestions on how the industry can attract new drivers, or have any comments about the topics covered, comment below. We love to hear from you.


Menzies, J. (2017). Slow, sustainable growth sets stage for a strong 2018. Truck News, 37(11), 1, 14.


Ritchie, J. (2010). Finding a work-life balance that works. Truck News. Retrieved from