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Atlantic Canada rolls through and out of recession with hardly a dent or a scratch. Our Auto Atlantic exclusive.


“Let’s keep those wheels turning” was the battle cry heard throughout the recent Atlantic Truck Show held June 12-13 at the Moncton Coliseum. It is a familiar chant heard throughout our Atlantic region these days.

Bob Greenwood

 

What was unique about the APTA sponsored truck show this year was that we, here in the most beautiful part of Canada, were able to showcase our industry and our economy as being more resilient than that of central and western Canada. We were able to note two things about this year’s version of Canada’s best road transport industry show . . . one being the state of our economy in Atlantic Canada and two . . . being the state of the economy in central Canada.

Exhibitors who attended our truck show from outside our region were amazed or, in some cases, disbelieving of how great the divide has become between the Atlantic and Central Canadian economies. The Atlantic Canadian economy continues to chug along, like the diesel engine truck that could, with relatively few job losses, continued growth in St. John’s, Halifax, Moncton and Saint John related to energy, transportation and the service sector. Central Canada continues to shed jobs and lack critical sector growth in their economy. These same exhibitors from outside our region who supply equipment to all modes of transportation, including truck and auto, left our truck show with a valuable lesson in hand.



That lesson is that by cutting marketing, sales and service support in Atlantic Canada based on Central (and Western) Canadian numbers is wrong. The Toronto based distributors with their insular view of the world were shown the error of their ways at our recent show. The attendance numbers were slightly less than 12,000 persons. The quality and quantity of attendees who were buying was up and the show was a critical success during a time of perceived instability in all sectors of the transportation industry.

In recent months the road transport industry has seen a bottoming out of the drop in freight over the past 18 months. The long haul trucking companies first noted the decline in freight as starting around December of 2007 and continuing through until May of this year. We are now starting to see some glimmers of hope moving forward.



While there is still speculation that globally things will continue to decline, we have to remember that we have a unique economy and region that has proven since the times of Acadian settlements to Loyalist resettlement through Irish immigration and into Confederation, that we can withstand the winds of change. Those same winds of change that blow through the roads of Atlantic Canada bring continued commerce to our region and growth and success for our people.

Now at this juncture in our economy it is important that we all become champions for our region. We here at the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association will build on the recent success of our truck show and the continued success of our members in being the backbone of the Atlantic economy.

As we have stated in the past, the member carriers of the APTA move 100% of all freight that moves internally in Atlantic Canada. For us there is always “light at the end of the road.” That is not to say that it is an easy road but one we see strength and opportunity in traveling. We have recently decided to cut from our lexicon the term that many like to start speeches or commentary with these days, that term is “in these difficult and uncertain economic times…” We urge all of you to do the same. Let’s talk about the progress we are making in our region, companies are buying trucks, people are buying cars, energy projects are moving forward and new homes are being built.



Our recent truck show cemented the fact that as an industry we are strong. We also recognize that the road transport industry is strong because our region and our people remain strong. Atlantic Canada, get out there and thumb your nose at Central and Western Canada, you have survived the great recession of our times and you did it with dignity, ingenuity and old fashioned smarts with a new fangled attitude. The time has come for Atlantic Canadians to go out and buy with confidence and sell for a profit. “Let’s keep those wheels turning.”


About The Author: Peter A. Nelson is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association. He may be contacted at (506)-855-2782 or email him at: pnelson@apta.ca.


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