Tag Archives: trucking companies

Be Thankful for Trucking at Thanksgiving

As we move into another Canadian Thanksgiving I always like to remind everyone that without trucking you would have an empty table. I have always said that trucking has terrible marketing campaigns and what many refer to as a dumping ground for people with a lack of education in the past is possibly one of the most important professions on the planet. Without truck drivers there would be nothing on that Thanksgiving table.

I recently interviewed a young reporter on my podcast who has been reporting specifically on the transportation industry for the last two years. She was in her mid twenties and when I asked her what people her age thought of the trucking industry she said they didn’t find it attractive. She mentioned that many young people feel the industry is such as those movies from the 70’s where we are all shown speeding from the police, gear jamming through outlaw convoys, and drinking in the truck stops before heading out on the road. Being a product of that time and starting my trucking career in the early 80’s I can tell you the industry couldn’t be any further from those scenarios seen in many movies. Like any good movie scenario getting a turkey to the kitchen table by truck certainly isn’t as thrilling as hauling illegal beer back from Texarkana Texas with Police in chase.

Even the movies that are made to reflect a more accurate look on the industry get caught up in movie making effects and can soon turn fable over fact in a short period of time. Unfortunately these movies and television shows are there for entertainment and that causes scenarios to be embellished for ratings. My friends that are involved in some of those shows will tell stories of how producers will ask them to make a scene more interesting by re-shooting it outside of what is allowed in the regulations or cut out certain scenes to make things more dramatic.

It’s a shame that television changes reality into fiction because our industry may be very different. Since it is such an important industry to the economy of our Country it should be treated as such because we keep saying, “Without trucks there would be nothing on our shelves.” Truck drivers are expected to get deliveries made in all sorts of weather and traffic situations yet we treat them like children. Even though our industry has changed over the years our importance is still being determined by movies made for entertainment from a time that is long gone.

Thank a truck driver!

As you sit down for that fabulous meal at Thanksgiving this weekend take a moment to reflect on the items on your table. The food came from a store that was supplied by a truck. Your table ware came from stores that were supplied by trucks. For many truck drivers they aren’t sitting at a table for Thanksgiving, they are driving up and down the roadways keeping those shelves stocked for others while you enjoy your meal. Thank a truck driver and Happy Thanksgiving.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Company vs Freight-Choosing a Carrier

Scrolling through a recent social media website on trucking I noticed a lot of questions from new drivers on whether to go work for a certain company based on the type of freight they haul. Sure drivers do choose carriers based on the type of freight they haul but is that the best way to choose a company that you hope to stay with for a good part of your career?

The question comes down to what do you feel is more important? In my personal opinion choosing the right company to work with far outweighs the type of freight they haul however there are many drivers out there that prefer to work with only flatbed, tanker, automobiles, or more. Much of that is what you’ve been introduced to at the beginning of your career and what has been accessible to you over time. For instance I never pulled B-trains just because I never worked for companies that had those opportunities available. I fell into the hazmat side of the industry due to the companies I worked with did a lot of that type of work. When I look back on my career I worked for good companies so don’t think I would change anything if I could.

Where you are in your career will make the difference in how you answer the question company or freight, it is kind of like the chicken and the egg scenario. I feel it comes down to how long you have been driving and the type of work you enjoy doing.

Let’s start with new drivers. If you are a brand new driver or someone that has been driving for under 5 years then you should be choosing a company to work for that has a good culture, good training / finishing program, and can offer you various types of trips or freight to gain experience. You want to gain experience on the road and if you get hired by a company that offers different types of freight even better. I worked for several companies that had a variety of freight from flatbed or steel, to refrigerated freight, and dry van before settling on a carrier that was specifically hazardous materials. You want a company with a good culture and one that is willing to be patient with someone new as they learn the ropes.

pipe truck

If you have been driving for more than 5 years then you may want to choose a company based on the freight they haul. At this time in your career you may have experienced a certain type of freight and realized you enjoy working with that type of equipment and enjoy the work. Choosing the companies that have that freight type would be the better way to choose a company but only if you know exactly what you want. Even then I would determine the type of freight I want to work with and create a list of those companies, then choose a company by their culture and other criteria.

No matter where you are in your career you want to work for a company that treats you right as an employee no matter what they haul. Choosing a company that has your type of freight, but doesn’t pay you, has you sitting waiting for freight, or has bad equipment won’t offer you a rewarding career as a professional driver. Choose wisely!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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I got my Licence But Can’t Get a Job!

A driver at a recent job fair was complaining that he went to a truck training school and passed his licence but now can’t find a job. I asked him about the school as to whether they were certified or not but he did not know. I asked how long his training was and he said just a few weeks. I asked if he got individual training and he said no it was all in groups. My final question was what are the carriers telling you? He said the carriers weren’t even accepting his resume because of the school. Now we get to the heart of the matter, certified training.

This driver may have attained his licence but because he attended a school that wasn’t certified his resume is not even being accepted. This happens to many drivers trying to take short cuts on their training. They take courses that are not approved as a career college or training facilities that focus on just putting students through the door instead of offering quality training. He may have taken a course that solely focused on driving the training route and passing the road test instead of training a person to know all the tasks and information a professional driver is required to know over the course of their day in the truck.

Many schools that offer low cost courses will take groups of students and train them to pass their licence. They show them basic driving skills, but not the other important details to being a professional driver such as trip planning, hours of service, defensive driving, and other important information that a driver needs to know to build a good career. This comes back to haunt the driver when companies can’t accept their resume based on the school they attended.

Truck training has come under the spotlight in recent years with roadside incidents, the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training with verified hours, and a very tight insurance market for carriers that are causing many to only take applications from students that have attended certified training facilities. This means that a student has to look at the carrier and training facility together when determining the best place for training. Many carriers suggest a student talk to them directly to see what schools they deal with so they know that the company will be satisfied with the training and accept their application.

What do you do if you are like our driver friend with a licence but no one seems to be interested in accepting your resume? If you’re in this situation there are a few steps you can try. Some may work based on the person or may cost more money to get you to a state where your training is sufficient.

  • Talk to past companies that you applied with to learn exactly why they wouldn’t accept your resume. They may offer information that can improve your chances next time.
  • Some carriers will invest in the right people if the person is motivated and presents themselves properly. Show a carrier your ambition and they may take a chance on helping you upgrade and learn.
  • Talk to a certified training school and find out how much it will cost to upgrade. Many will offer the training you need and can help you get that certified training helping you gain employment.
  • Look to the larger carriers with affiliate training programs through certified schools and see if they can help you with employment and upgrading.

The best way to avoid the problem in the first place is to choose a certified school and talk to potential carriers before taking your training so that you don’t fall into this problem and get the proper training for your career. Remember training is an investment not a cost. Good luck!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Job Diversity Leading Attraction to get into Transportation

Have you ever been attracted to a job where the money was attractive and once in the industry you found it felt like a dead end? Once you started down that path you saw that everyone ended up doing the same job and there was very little career building areas to move around. When that happens boredom sets in and it is just a matter of time before you feel stuck and unfulfilled. This happens in many manufacturing environments where employees focus on a high hourly wage and benefits hoping longevity will see them through to retirement. We have all seen the writing on the wall when that happens and a plant closes down after a many years in operation.

TTSAO Conference 2018

I recently attended an interview session for people in the trucking industry asking them various questions about what they thought of the transportation industry as they have evolved in their careers. As we completed a number of the interviews I began to see two common themes throughout no matter who I talked with. The two themes were people in the industry and the different career paths available to those in the industry. It really came down to options. The questions for the interviews were created by a separate group so it wasn’t as though I themed the questions or asked them in certain way. I was asked to interview certain people about their career experiences and document the answers. During the course of 28 interviews half of those people mentioned that the opportunities available in the industry through different career paths were the top reasons that people stayed in the industry. Many responded that they started as drivers and over the years have had a number of job titles over their long career with many being with the same employer. I interviewed one person who began her career as a driver, went into dispatch, and is now in safety and operations. Others began in the family business and are now in sales, management, or insurance. Having opportunities to stay in such a diverse industry was the leading reason that transportation was such a lucrative industry to be part of.

The people were the second reason. One quarter of the interviewees said that the people kept them wanting to be involved in the trucking industry. Some said they could pick up the phone and call colleagues in the industry to get information even if that colleague was with a different employer. Others felt the people were genuine in trucking and the type of people that understood what a person can go through allowing them the information needed to solve problems. Others made lifelong friends in the industry that they have not found elsewhere.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

I myself have experienced the same thing in this industry. I was one of those people that started my career not even in the driver’s seat but carrying furniture into houses as I moved people around the Province. That led to a career as a driver for over 25 years, a fleet supervisor, a trainer, author, and now podcaster just to mention a few. It is all due to the knowledge and friendships I have experienced in the trucking industry. I hope you get a chance to experience what myself and so many others have experienced in this industry in the people and opportunities. It will change your life, it did for me!

find-a-ttsao-Carrier

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Trucking for the Right Reasons

There is a certain wonder about life on the road and how people cope. People wonder about truckers in the trucking industry such as where they go, who they see, and how they handle the loneliness. We wonder the same thing about nomads, caravaners, and other people that seem to float from place to place not knowing what the next turn will bear. To some it is romantic and to others it is as scary as walking down a dark street at two in the morning.

I recently read an article from a young person thinking about getting into the trucking industry who currently worked from home and felt they had no social life. He didn’t get out to see people and was becoming bored with his job. This person felt that getting a job as a truck driver would change the loneliness and make their life more exciting. The question is, is that the proper reason to get into the trucking industry?

Another situation that arises is when someone takes a driving trip for vacation decides they like to drive and wants to move into the transportation industry. Driving on vacation and driving for work are two different things. Vacation is great for seeing the sights and enjoying the many great places across the Country. It is not always possible to do that in trucking.

The reasons above are what people tell us many times in conversation as to why they may want to get into the trucking industry. It may be a start but is not enough to begin a career without some more investigation into the lifestyle. If we take the scenarios above we will see that for the first person the reason of getting out of the house may be a first step to looking at the industry, but have they thought about life on the road as a whole. Life on the road is not for everyone and the driving is just one part of the job. Many drivers suffer from loneliness as well so trucking may or may not be the answer.

Driver-in-truck

In the second scenario a driving holiday is a beautiful way to see the beauty of North America with family and friends. You can stop when you want, drive to important monuments, and take your time enjoying the surroundings. You can do that in a truck as well but you may not have the time or access to go to certain places.

So how do you decide on a job in transportation? The scenarios above may be a good start to thinking about being in trucking but you need to look at the job and lifestyle as a whole. I think the trucking industry has a lot to offer any person whether in a truck or not but is also not for everyone. You do get to see the Country and you can see others on the road, but it can be a drastic change to people coming into the industry without the knowledge of the lifestyle. The best place to start the conversation about trucking is with a carrier or trucking school. An even better place to start is at www.ttsao.com

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Choosing a Carrier Based on Road Check

The first week of June each year is a program called Road Check which is a collaboration between law enforcement and inspection agencies across North America showing the public the importance of road safety by inspecting commercial vehicles for 72 hours straight. This happens every year at the same time and is well promoted to industry and the public. After 72 hours there will be a number of charges laid against non-compliance carriers or drivers and possibly some will be placed out of service. Charges can affect the companies safety rating, the driver’s driving record, and possibly the chance for driver employment for the future so it is important to understand the importance of the program. It’s important to note that inspections can happen at anytime of the year, but during Road Check there is high likely a driver will be inspected. How will Road Check help me find a carrier?

Road Check is widely publicized in the industry and safety minded companies will go the extra mile to ensure that the equipment going down the road is safe and compliant. Some do mini inspections in their own yard while others will have mechanics look at each piece of equipment and change out anything that looks close to being non-compliant. A company that takes safety to the next level by being serious about safety is protecting their own safety rating and the ratings of their drivers.

Many drivers feel that if something is wrong with the equipment that the company will just pay the fine. That may be true in some cases but if it is part of the job of the driver to catch the default then the driver may be responsible for fine as well. Furthermore no matter who pays the fine the carrier and driver will have the fine added to their commercial vehicle operator record. This can cause problems if a driver is looking for new opportunities in the future as it will show a lack of ability to inspect their vehicle. In addition to the record issue, the delays, road service repair costs, and downtime to the driver are all elements that can’t be taken away after the fact. It is easier to do a good inspection and catch those issues before leaving the yard.

Whell and brake assembly picture

If you are in the process of looking for employment with a carrier then one of the most important factors to consider is the safety program of that carrier. Many carriers promote safety but don’t totally believe in it. You don’t want to work for those carriers as they are the ones that will leave you helpless during the inspection process. They blame the drivers for many things, don’t maintain their equipment, and ask drivers to bend the rules, you don’t want to work for those companies. You do want to work for a company that takes safety seriously and has a culture that empowers the drivers to put safety over productivity.

Ask that question to the carrier when applying for work. What is the safety rating of the company? What is your safety program like? What does the owner think of safety? These questions and more should all be asked of a carrier before signing on with them. With Road Check you can ask one more questions to test their culture, “What do you do during the week of Road Check to ensure your vehicles are safe on the road?” Hopefully the answer will make you want to apply to the right carrier. Good luck!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Truck Drivers are the Glue to Keeping Trucking in Motion

I hear it everyday from carriers that the people coming into the industry are lacking commitment and don’t seem to have the skills necessary for the job. I see it in my classes that many students are trying to cookie cut their career and find the perfect job from day one. We see it as a whole in the industry that things are in a state of flux and organizations are trying to come up with answers that address the needs of the industry. No easy fix for sure! There is one constant component in the whole equation and that is you, the driver, the student, you’re the glue.

Why are you the glue, that important piece of a very complex puzzle? You are the piece that controls everything. As a driver you are in demand in the industry. There is a major recruiting shortage that is getting worse and drivers are needed badly. As a student you want the best job you can get, but getting that job may be harder than you expected because it is not just about driving a truck. As an industry we have been trying to find the right mix of regulations for both drivers and companies working in the industry and that has made the industry more complex over the years. How you perform as a driver glues all of those issues together. So how does this affect us going forward?

There are many that believe we don’t have a recruiting shortage but lack the necessary driver qualifications in today’s drivers. The industry has changed so much that once it was a dumping ground for people without education, it has now become one of the most regulated and education rich industries in North America. So how do you succeed in an industry that is changing at the speed of sound? The secret is to educate yourself, network, and take your position seriously.

For the most part people looking into the transportation industry have no fondness of being in classes or increasing their education. Many believe if they can drive then they have all that is needed to be successful as a professional driver. In fact the most popular reason that people get into this industry is because they went on a long trip, enjoyed the drive, and thought truck driving might be for them. What changes is when they actually get into the training aspect of the job they realize driving is only one part of the position. There are many different components to the job and driving is only 50 percent at best. Keeping yourself educated is the important aspect of being successful in today’s transportation industry. The other 50 percent of the job duties needed to be successful encompasses everything else that a driver does on a daily basis. Educate yourself regularly through videos, publications, podcasts, or other sources that you come across everyday. Find the ones that are best for you and keep up with the industry.

Man-with-blue-truck

Take your career to the next level and secure your position in the changing area of transportation. There is no reason why any person with a valid commercial licence should not be working for a decent carrier unless they choose not to drive. Realize that driving is only a portion of your responsibilities and the industry is changing. Don’t be one of the statistics of this industry, be part of the solution, be the glue that keeps it together.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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You’ve Got to Give a Company a Year!

I was reading some questions lately about drivers looking for jobs and as I went through a few posts I began to notice a disturbing trend. Many of the drivers asking the questions were asking where to go to drive hauling a certain type of trailer. What was comical is that if you went down the list and read every question many were contradicting each other. The drivers may as well just switched companies. The trend I noticed was that the drivers all were fairly new drivers and many of them were looking to change companies after only 6 months of driving time. What these drivers may no realize is how much they are hurting their employment record by moving companies within a year of starting in their career. You’ve got to give a company a year as a new truck driver.

TTSAO Hiring Event 2018

The first two years of your career are critical to success as a new driver and the best thing you can do for your career is learn all you can and work in a stable environment. Forget the money, forget the lanes of operation, forget everything. Drive safely and learn all you can about the job is the best way to have success in the industry.

Why stay for at least a year?

What many new drivers may not realize is that there are many factors that work together from insurance to safety to experience and if you can stay at a company for at least two years before moving to another company it helps your employment record dramatically. Once a driver has two years of experience the insurance companies look at that driver as an experienced driver and they become easier to insure. Two years is also the amount of time that it takes for a driver to learn the basic skills of the job and be self sufficient in their position. When a driver moves from company to company within the two year mark it becomes a red flag to many companies that this driver isn’t stable and it will cause them to question investing in that driver.

What looks better on an employment record? A driver that has been with a company for two years and is now looking for an improved opportunity? Or a driver that has had three jobs in the last two years and is still looking for more opportunities?

This is why it is important for new drivers to investigate companies properly when first getting started in the industry. Start your career with a reputable carrier that will offer the training and help you get the experience required to have a solid career as a driver. Don’t worry about making money, just gain as much experience as you can and stay stable at your job. After two years your options will open dramatically for the new driver and you will have enough knowledge to know what type of job you want in the industry.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Tips for Evaluating Your Trucking Job Contract

Remember the days when you went to apply for a job and the employer had you sit at a desk and fill out a generic one page application? Your young hands shaking as you try to get your printing neat enough for someone else to read and your mind focused enough to remember your social insurance number. Then you reached the part where it asked for your experience and you tried to think of everything you have ever done that remotely related to the job you’re applying for. My first job was like that as I applied to a fast food restaurant where washing the dishes at home became my closest experience to working for a restaurant. I did get the job as a dish washer!

Today things are quite different. You have resumes that have to be provided in a certain format or length with background check information to be verified by the employer. Contracts are now normal and negotiating an employment contract is a regular part of the process for accepting a job. We often think of contracts as something that only happens in business or high level projects but everyday applications such as a truck driver position have to deal with contracts as well. This is important to understand because you could be agreeing to things you don’t understand or be leaving benefits on the table.

This happened to me when I went to work for a global company. I had never really dealt with employment contracts and didn’t understand that contracts were negotiable. I accepted the contract and found out later through discussions that other team members got other benefits because they negotiated them. For me it may have meant another week of vacation each year. Contracts are now a normal part of the process and it is important that you read and understand them to protect you and your benefits. You may not have to get a lawyer involved but you should know what you are signing and agreeing to so I have offered you a few basic tips below.

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Read the Contract

I used to work closely with a company that was mostly owner operator based and management would relate horror stories that owner operators didn’t understand what was expected of them because they didn’t read their contracts and were then surprised when items were taken off their statements that they hadn’t agreed to. The fact was that they had agreed to it and would have known that if they had read their contract. READ EVERY WORD!

Have Someone Else Read Your Contract

Contracts have lots of legalese in them and it can be hard to understand the legal language sometimes. Always have someone else read the contract as well and if you still don’t understand it find a lawyer or paralegal to help you.

Evaluate Every Line Item

It is very hard to read contracts or other important documents on a phone or tablet. If possible always print out or receive a paper copy and go through it line by line. I like to print off a paper copy and highlight all the items to be changed and add notes in the margin of items to be reviewed with the employer. Make a spare copy for marking if you only received one as your primary copy.

Sleep On It

Never feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot. If you are asked to sign it without reading it then run. Most employers will send the contract ahead of time or send it home with you for review. Read the contract and then sleep on it overnight and read it again the next day. If you need longer because you need to get a lawyer to review it then do so and let them know you are having someone else review it. Realize that a contract can be a starting point for negotiations and doesn’t need to be looked at as the end point of an agreement unless you have signed it. Once you sign it you can’t go back and negotiate.

Contracts are becoming a normal part of business and employment processes. Understanding the benefits or issues with your particular contract application is important for success in the future. Ensure you read your contracts and all the best.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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CHET gives a presentation to the Peel Goods Movement Task Force

Hard on the heels of the Conference, I  was involved in giving a presentation to the Peel Goods Movement Task Force last Friday, and I now know that we, as a group (TTSAO) through CHET are accepted as a stakeholder in relation to Training.    A big plus for the Association to be among such an elite level of planners, logicians and academics in transportation. To view the information check out the link below.

https://www.peelregion.ca/pw/transportation/goodsmovement/pdf/goods-movement-strategic-plan-2017-2021.pdf

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