Ontario’s truckers are reporting stronger freight and rate counts and are more optimistic than they’ve been in years.

In the Ontario Trucking Association’s second-quarter 2014 survey of business conditions, carriers showed across-the-board improvements and also said that rates are keeping pace with volume increases.

Freight Volumes

Although this time of year is usually slow for trucking, the OTA found:

- 65 percent of carriers said southbound freight volumes improved in the previous three months – the highest percentage ever recorded since OTA started the survey in 2008;

- 59 percent more carriers said that intra-provincial volumes jumped;

- 62 percent of carriers saw a surge in U.S. northbound lanes (highest since 2011);

- 41 percent said inter-Ontario freight has increased.

Looking ahead at the next six months, more carriers see growth:

- 63 percent of carriers expect volumes within provincial lanes to go up; 

- 77 percent expect inter-provincial volumes to keep climbing;

- 73 percent expect growth Southbound.


- 62 percent of carriers said U.S. southbound rates have skyrocketed;

- 31 percent said rates have improved in all other lanes;

- 47 percent said rates improved intra-provincially;

- 41 percent said northbound U.S. rates have gone up.


- 58 percent of carriers said capacity is shrinking;

- 22 reported flat capacity;

- 58 percent said they want to add more drivers and owner-ops;

- 46 percent expect capacity to tighten more in the future;

- 80 percent said contract timeframes are not changing.

Carrier Costs

Driver wages are going up as the competition between carriers to retain drivers heats up.

- 90 percent of carriers said wages for both drivers and owner-ops have gone up – most by two to four percent;

- About half of carriers said wages for owner-ops were up by five percent and a quarter of carriers said driver rates were up by five percent;

- Only 12 percent reported fuel hikes of 15 percent or more, but three in four carriers reported overall fuel price increases in the five-to-10 percent range.

Carriers Top Concerns

- 14 percent are worried about the economy;

- 63 percent are worried about the driver shortage;

- 22 percent are worried about capacity and rates. 

-- From Today's Trucking