Greg Evasiuk: “Greg is currently an owner-operator with Bowline Logistics."
Posted By Greg Evasiuk: “Greg is currently an owner-operator with Bowline Logistics." On 2024-05-18 20:07:23

Consistency is the lowest level of performance I look for in anything. We all love to see people, businesses and services that excel or go above and beyond. I would hazard a bet that the large majority of you are like me, if you aren't going to get the "best," you would at least like it to be the same. Take McDonalds, It's definitely not the best hamburger out there, but when you order a McDonald's cheeseburger, you are pretty sure to get what you expect. It's at the core of every place you frequent. If your expectation for service and quality is met for the price you pay, you go back again.

This isn't the part where I beat my chest over how best to provide service and how to turn customers into fans. You may have to wait for the book if that's what you want. What has me bothered is the lack of consistency in permitting and rules. My job now is mainly multi-axle over-dimensional freight, and it opened my eyes to a litany of inconsistencies across the provinces and states. Now that I'm still on the road, I'll leave out the identities of the offenders to protect my innocence!

I am writing this article from a truck stop in a certain eastern province while waiting on a permit that I applied for a week ago. This is an issue in a handful of places across the continent, but at least in the states, you can sometimes circumvent these slow permitting states by routing around them. The real problem comes when, like me, you have to pick up in one of these places. Customers like to have a reasonable idea of your ETA for delivery, which is next to impossible to predict. The permit I am waiting on falls well within legal weights for eight axles and is 10 ft wide and just over height. My routing is a standard high-load corridor. I would have my permit within a couple of hours or less in Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC, Washington, Idaho and others. I can understand a longer wait for something extraordinary, but this kind of wait for a standard permit is unacceptable.

My next issue is the wide differential in weights and configurations, especially during the spring road ban season. In 1988-89, Canada took some steps to help, starting with the RTAC rules for tridems and super-b's, but since then, there's been little change. Take, for example, longer wheelbase tractors. You can run a 270" wheelbase in front of a super-b in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but not BC or Ontario. The legislation of one wheelbase for heavy haul configurations and weights is more confounding.

On this trip, I have a single jeep, tridem lowbed and single booster, what we call a 1-3-1. Given the time of year, my maximum weights per axle change four times across the country - and I'm not heavy. I will give you just the changes for my drive axles and jeep.

Ont. 16500kg and 7100kg
MB.  14500kg and 8300kg
Sask. 16000kg and 7200kg
AB.   16000kg and 8000kg
BC.   17000kg and 9000kg (but no more than 25000kg combined)

When you combine that with the different allowances on the back end, it means a lot of extra work, lowering and lifting the trailer to slide fifth wheels and changing shims to get the weight on the right axles. I'm not averse to doing a little work, but what sense does this make? Yes, we need rules on weights to save the roads, especially in the spring thaw, but they should be the same. Judging by the numbers I was given, the roads adapt to weights differently from province to province?

Here are some other rules that don't make sense to me: in Alberta, we are allowed tri-drive tractors but not tandems with a pusher axle at the same spacing; Québec can have a quad axle altogether but not a single booster, BC even if you are permitting for length you cannot get a heavy haul permit with a tractor over 244" wheelbase.

I barely scraped the surface here and know that anyone trucking across North America has their own situation to add. It is understandable to have some local configurations that are specific to certain areas, but it would sure be nice if those were just regional exceptions without impacting the norm. I'd like to see lift axles get the same treatment across borders and the requirements for lights, signs, and flags be the same.
How about ordering a permit and knowing you will have a response within a couple of hours? I know there's more hope in bringing consistency to my golf game than having uniform rules across Canada or the US, but can we at least work on it?

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