Windsor

'Electronic logging' has truckers rolling into Windsor-Essex

At Hunter Express, electronic logging devices are encouraging many truckers to move specifically to the Windsor-Essex region because it allows them to spend more time on U.S. roads.

Time spent in the U.S. is reduced when starting trips from Windsor rather than Toronto

Electronic logging devices (e-logs) are already mandatory for Canadian drivers crossing the border to the United States because that country has required the use of the technology since December 2017. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

The economy of Windsor and Essex County is benefiting from a new law meant to keep drivers safe on the road.

The federal government announced it will require all commercial truck and bus drivers in Canada to install electronic logging devices — sometimes referred to as "e-logs" — in their vehicles by the year 2020.

Electronic logging forces truckers to abide by a 13-hour maximum on the road.

"E-logs" are encouraging many truckers to move specifically to the Windsor-Essex region because it allows them to spend more time on U.S. roads, according to Hunter Express recruiter Amanda Marcinko.

"If they're leaving from Brampton and crossing the border, they have a four-hour drive ... so a lot of them are moving to Windsor." she said. "More time on the road so they can travel into the U.S."

No one has precise numbers on how many truckers or trucking companies have moved from the Greater Toronto Area to Windsor, but Carl Gatt at BSD Linehaul said it's in the dozens just for his company alone.

He also said many of them have a south Asian background and are coming from the Brampton area.

In 2015, when the company opened its Windsor division, "we started with a measly 12-15 trucks. Within that year, we went over 110 trucks in the fleet — 85 per cent were East Indians. They started moving here at the end of 2017," said Gatt.

According to the Gurdwara Khalsa Parkash, the primary place of worship for Windsor's Sikh community, about 100 families have moved to the region to pursue trucking jobs.

They're attracted by the lower cost of property and the changes to the trucking rules.

Amanda Marcinko, a recuriter at Hunter Express in Belle River, says electronic logs prevent drivers from falsifying how much time they spent on the road. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

E-logs monitor a vehicle's engine "to capture data on whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and duration of engine operation," according to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Under Canadian regulations, truckers are allowed to be behind the wheel for no more 13 hours per day to limit driver fatigue.

According to Marcinko, paper logs would allow drivers to "rip a page out of the book" if they didn't want to show they spent too much time on the road.

Rapid regional growth

She added most trucking companies in Windsor and Essex County installed "e-logs" into their vehicles near the end of 2017 — three years ahead of the government mandate.

When Hunter Express first expanded to Belle River in 2014, there were no trucks assigned to the terminal. It was just a stopping point for drivers.

Electronic logging devices at Hunter Express are installed on tablets which are mounted inside the company's trucks. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Now, it operates about 150 trucks on its own.

"We grew a lot," said Marcinko.

About the Author

Sanjay Maru is a reporter at CBC Windsor. Email him at sanjay.maru@cbc.ca.

with files from Blair Sanderson

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