Some facts about Indian Trucking Association
Indian Trucking Association was officially created in Mississauga, Ontario in January 2008.
Truck drivers from India and Pakistan represent about 60% of Canadian professional
driversí pool in province of Ontario (data of Indian Trucking Association), so
DorogaRoad met the president of newly created Association Mr.Nachhattar
S. Chohan to ask him a few questions.
DorogaRoad: Mr.Chohan, there is Trucking Association today in every Canadian province. What was the reason to create a new one Ė Indian Trucking Association?
Nachhattar Chohan: Good question. Transportation is a fourth biggest industry in Canada. Here, in Ontario Punjabi transportation professionals are in majority. Itís not in disregard of any other community. Itís just a fact. Let me make it very clear, word Indian in Associationís name does not mean that it belongs to Indians only; it belongs to all transportation professionals. We welcome everyone no matter what nationality he/she is. We are looking for support and input of every trucker from every community. So, do not be confused by the name of the Association.
DorogaRoad: When you talking about everyoneís support, what do you mean by that?
Nachhattar Chohan: We started by gathering information from people in every field of transportation industry. We knew and we learned more about problems that truckers are facing every day. We met with Minister of Transport of Ontario (MTO) Mr. Jim Bradley. We told him very clearly: we need your support! We told him that truckers are straggling. Cost of the business so high today, considering soaring diesel price and many other things. MTO officials for a minor fault can very heavily fine truck driver and a company. Moreover, some of the workers in this industry earning very low wages. None of the above is helping the industry. One of the reasons Indian Trucking Association has been created Ė to consolidate our voices as truckers and transportation companies in raising our concerns and present them to the MTO. We agreed with the minister to meet on a regular basis. We will share our ideas where the MTO can help to improve situation in the industry.
On the other side, we need members. The more members of the association, bigger discount we (all our members) can get from all kind of service providers: insurance companies, repair shops, dealers etc. We met recently with the representative of the company that selling fuel. I am myself owner of Transportation Company and spend on fuel about $30,000 per month. Therefore, I have asked that fellow what kind of discount I can get, if I give him all my business. 3-4 cents, was his answer. Another story, if we talk to the same fuel guys as a thousand members joined in one association Ė in this case, we can get 10-15 cent discount per litre of diesel. It means I, and other business owners like me, can instantly save on fuel $3000 per month.
One of the problems trucking industry is facing today - driversí shortage. Young generations, born in Canada, do not select trucking as a preferred field of employment because of all these problems we have. New immigrants to Canada from India, Russia, and other countries are usually highly educated people. They do not want to work on factories, they rather looking for an independent work and often become truck drivers. However, they very soon feel all this mistreatment from the MTO employees and other major players in this business, and became disappointed. It should not be like that.
I give you an example. Driver takes a load. Shipper is telling him (and showing on a BOL) that it is weighed 40,000 lbs. There is no scale around to check it and driver has to trust shipper. In fact, there is 50,000 lbs. It s sometime over legal limit and driver easily can get fine, plus he is became unsafe on the road. Driver is penalized but he did nothing wrong! It is one of the reasons why we have shortage of drivers. This is hurting not only trucking industry but also Canadian economy as a whole.
DorogaRoad: Is your Association will do anything to help your members to be safe road operators?
Nachhattar Chohan: This is very important issue and we discussed it with Ministry of Transportation as well. One of the main objectives of the Association is safety roads. We are launching series of educational seminars for novice drivers, for want to be drivers, for everybody who wants to improve their professional skills and knowledge. MOT representatives supposed to be on a site and safety, of course, will be one of the major topics. First seminar will be held on March 16, 2008. Everybody is welcome, for more details please call 905 672 1635. We also are planning to run a truck show later this year, on August 18. All interested can get information by calling the same number.
DorogaRoad: Mr.Chohan, are you President elect or appointed? Who elect or appointed you?
Nachhattar Chohan: There are five directors of the Association, I am one of them, Ė business owners from different fields of transportation including publisher of Road News newspaper. Other directors offered me to become a President.
DorogaRoad: Was it easy for you to establish with MTO that level of communication you have now?
Nachhattar Chohan: It was not easy. We sent to the Ministry few letters without getting any response. Only after we communicate to the media and MPs we are noticed and received invitation from the Ministry. When people in the Ministry are listening to us, it is beneficial for them too as they are serving public and have to learn from it.
DorogaRoad: Is there any fee to join your Association?
Nachhattar Chohan: There is a fee starting from $150 annually depending on a flit size of the company.
DorogaRoad: Only trucking companies can join you or owner operators that own one tractor as well?
Nachhattar Chohan: We are representing all in trucking business and we welcome all including individuals.
DorogaRoad: How many members you count so far for today?
Nachhattar Chohan: A few hundred because we just started. So we are spreading word about our organization, we invite everybody to come and join us.
DorogaRoad: Is there any reaction from other trucking associations, say Ontario Trucking Assiociation?
Nachhattar Chohan: Nobody says anything. I would like to stress out that we have no competition with other associations. If they can do something better than others can, let them do it. The more associations are there, the better. However, some organizations just bear their names and not do much. We are active association and we will do as much as we can to improve situation in this industry.
DorogaRoad: What would you say if tomorrow Russian or Polish Canadian truckers form their own professional association?
Nachhattar Chohan: That would be good. If that people have ideas what else should be done for better in trucking, we invite them to join us. The better we organized the better for us and for trucking business.
DorogaRoad: Thank you, Mr.Chohan.