December 22, 2020
The Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) has been conducting impact surveys since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure membership’s voices are being heard, and to offer any guidance or assistance possible to those responsible for keeping goods on the move on Alberta highways.
“Commercial transportation keeps our municipalities, homes, hospitals and supermarkets running smoothly during good times and times of crisis, like we have witnessed this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said AMTA President Chris Nash. “It is important we hear from membership on how they are faring throughout this pandemic – and economic downturn – to ensure their needs are being met.”
Between March and December of this year, the AMTA has conducted nine surveys with a total 176 responses. The latest saw 64 per cent of respondents reporting a decrease in revenue since March 1, 2020 while four per cent reported a revenue increase.
As well, 60 per cent of respondents reported a decrease in staff, while 24 per cent have maintained the same amount, and 16 per cent have increased their numbers. In a Labour Market Snapshot released by Trucking HR Canada in September, it was reported: Between June and August, the commercial transportation industry added 43,500 employed drivers in Canada. Numbers, Trucking HR said, returned to well above the 10-year average employment in the occupation.
While the province continues to look at ways of achieving economic recovery, the pandemic has refreshed the spotlight on commercial drivers and their efforts in keeping supply chain momentum in Alberta and beyond.
“As with all industries, we have had increased challenges due to COVID-19,” said Brad Beerling, AMTA Southern Region board member and, Logistics Manager, Meridian Manfacturing Inc. “Our company and drivers appreciate the support from the general public, government and service industries enabling us to remain operational. We look forward to the New Year and continuing to function safely.”
A positive trend in the survey was how quickly fleets were able to fill driver positions when hiring with some reporting as quickly as 24 hours, to a matter of weeks to over a month. According to AMTA impact surveys, drivers were amongst the most-filled company positions, alongside operations, while administration saw the most decreases.
As the adage goes: Everything, from the shoes on your feet to the mask on your face, arrives on a truck. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents said they currently have the capacity to continue to meet their customer’s demands. When asked how many months businesses could continue to operate, 38 per cent answered, “we’ll be fine”, while 26 per cent would be able to operate seven.
“We know times are hard, and we want industry to know we are here for you. We encourage you to engage and reach out with us to best advocate for your needs” added Kimberley Burfoot, AMTA Executive Director. “As essential workers, Alberta’s commercial fleets continue to show the resiliency and drive they have shown for decades continually making this an industry to be proud of.”