GURMINDER Singh Parihar, the Liberal candidate for Surrey-Newton, received a lot of praise from trucking industry reps who credited him with facilitating talks with the Transportation Minister and bureaucrats that led to Monday’s announcement of a raft of changes as well as upcoming plans that benefit the industry that employs so many South Asians.
Parihar told The VOICE that he took the initiative before he became a candidate out of a desire to help the community.
The Surrey accountant and business owner will actually be taking a big hit to his finances if he gets elected, but he says that doesn’t matter to him.
The industry reps approached him to set up a meeting with the minister and “get the ministry moving because they heard I was thinking of running,” Parhar said. “I could facilitate the meeting for the sake of the community and I went along with them. The trucking companies were losing a lot of money,” he added, mentioning the various issues that were raised.
The minister accepted some of the suggestions and others are being considered.
THE Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure this week unveiled upcoming plans to streamline the commercial truck permitting system and adopt new technology improvements, which will save time and money for the commercial trucking industry.
Streamlining the permitting process: Approximately 120,000 truck permits are issued every year in British Columbia to regulate the safe transport of heavy and large loads. The ministry estimates that approximately 25% of these permits could be changed into regulations instead.
In the fall of 2017, the ministry will be looking at replacing the permit requirements for low-risk oversize and overweight commercial trucks with regulations. Prior to this change, the ministry will undertake stakeholder engagement to ensure that all impacted groups are consulted.
This move, as outlined in B.C. on the Move, will reduce the burden of obtaining permits while still maintaining a high level of safety for all motorists.
Evaluating new generation wide based tires: The Province is working with the BC Trucking Association to evaluate the impact of increased weight on new generation wide based tires in British Columbia. Wide based tires are twice the width of traditional truck tires and reduce fuel consumption when compared to regular dual tires.
During the evaluation period, the ministry will monitor the use of wide based tires and regularly assess the pavement conditions along main routes to ensure that the new tires aren’t damaging the road.
Reducing red tape around authorization letters: The Province is moving from one year authorization letters to five year letters for oversized and overweight trucks operating within the Reducible Load Overweight Permitting Policy. Extending the time period will allow truck owners to amortize their investment in larger trucks over a longer period and encourage innovation in the trucking industry.
Safety will remain the province’s priority. Trucks will still be required to apply for permits for each trip they make and they will also be subject to regular Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) inspection and audit to ensure that they are operating safely throughout the province.
Higher maximum weight for 10 axle container trucks: The province will increase the maximum axle group weight permitted on 10 axle container trucks. This will mean that vehicles with 10-axle permits will be able to carry two 30,480 kilograms shipping containers, maximizing the throughput of our gateway ports and improving efficiency for container trucking companies.
This type of travel will only be authorized from transfer/reload facilities located in the Lower Mainland to Gateway ports located in the Lower Mainland.
Investigating Smart Lift axles: The ministry has committed to work with the BC Trucking Association to investigate the use of Smart Lift axles on trailers in British Columbia. Smart Lift axles automatically lift or drop depending on the weight on a trailer, reducing rolling resistance and improving fuel economy for the trucking industry.
Driver abstract improvements: ICBC and the BC Trucking Association are working together to help trucking companies meet the National Safety Code obligations, which requires companies to review driver abstracts on an annual basis. Last year, ICBC made driver abstracts accessible via an online service, available 24/7 so all drivers could access their own abstracts on an on-demand basis. This is part of ICBC’s work to improve online services for all customers to make their interactions more convenient. ICBC is now changing the minimum order for bulk abstracts that companies can request from 20 to five and will continue to work with industry partners to help raise awareness of the online options available.
Increased auditing capacity for Container trucking Commission processes: British Columbia has invested new money into the Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commission to increase their audit capacity and ensure that audits are completed more quickly. The office has now audited the majority of license holders, with 61 audits underway or completed to date – resulting in $1.7 million being returned to drivers.
Examination of options to reform Truck Tag system: The Container Trucking Commissioner is also examining options to reform the Truck Tag system. As part of this, the commissioner is accepting submissions from stakeholders until March 31, 2017 and has posted a request for proposals to hire a contractor to assess the current tagging system and develop options and recommendations to improve the process.
Other actions: The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has also taken recent steps to improve the container trucking sector, including: flexible geo-fencing on the south shore of the port, similar to the geo-fencing already in place at Deltport, to help address congestion and provide fair wait time fees for drivers; collection of over $600,000 in wait time fees from terminals, given to the commissioner to distribute to trucking companies for excessive wait times; and development of an expedited process to ensure timely future wait time payments.