Canadians see trucking as most important mode

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by Emily Atkins

A majority of Canadians view trucking as the most crucial transportation mode in the Canadian economy, according to a new poll.

Just over half of Canadians (51 percent) surveyed consider trucking the most important mode to get goods delivered across Canada – much higher than rail (19 percent), air (18 percent) and marine (13 percent). Three in four Canadians (76 percent) believe trucking to be either the most or second most important mode in getting goods to market.

“Canadian truck drivers were widely recognized as essential workers during the pandemic. But it’s very clear that even as we return to normalcy, the trucking industry and the impact our hard-working trucking drivers make in the everyday lives of Canadians, is still immensely appreciated and valued,” said Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) president Stephen Laskowski.

CTA commissioned Abacus Research to undertake the study, which was conducted randomly with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over, between October 21 and 26, 2022.

 

Respondents in Saskatchewan and Manitoba considered trucking to be more essential in transporting goods than any other mode (59 percent) and an extraordinary 93 percent in those provinces ranked trucking in the top two. Trucking was considered a top-two mode by most respondents across all provinces, genders, age and across supporters of all major federal political parties.

A large majority of Canadians also recognize how the labour/driver shortage the trucking sector is experiencing right now is directly pressuring the supply chain and hindering the delivery of goods to retail markets.

Sixty-five percent of Canadians think trucking is experiencing severe (25 percent) or moderate (40 percent) labour shortages. This was most pronounced in Quebec where 38 percent said the trucking labour crunch is ‘severe’. Only two percent of respondents in all provinces say the sector is not experiencing a shortage at all.

Food supply

Nearly unanimously, 96 percent of Canadians believe labour shortages in trucking/logistics impact Canada’s supply chain and the ability to get food to market – even more so than in the agriculture sector. Sixty-seven said diminishing labour supply in trucking would have a major impact; while 28 percent said the effect could be more minor. No other sector is thought to be as greatly impacted by labour shortages: Sixty-one percent believe labour shortages in agriculture would have a ‘major impact’ in the food supply chain, while only 46 percent said the same of rail and retail, respectively.

BC and Alberta respondents appear to be most concerned over trucking labour’s effect on food supply disruptions, with 72 percent and 74 percent saying it would have a major impact – higher than the national average of 67 percent who said the same.

Retail shortages

When asked whether the current shortage of retail products is directly attributed to the lack of labour in trucking, 67 percent agreed this is the case, with 23 percent indicating a ‘severe’ effect and 44 percent saying there’s a ‘moderate’ effect. Another 18 percent believe there’s a minor connection. Only three percent said there’s no effect at all.

Over half of respondents in every survey category said there’s either a severe or moderate effect between trucking capacity and retail goods shortages.

“The impact of the truck driver shortage on the Canadian public and their ability to access food and other crucial products is very real and it is not going unnoticed,” said Jonathan Blackham, CTA director of policy and public affairs.

“There is no doubt that the Canadian public has made the connection between shrinking labour in trucking, supply chain disruptions and product shortages on store shelves. It’s now time to act.”

The Abacus Poll was commissioned by the Canadian Trucking Alliance. It was conducted randomly with 1500 Canadians aged 18 and over, between October 21-26.