Growing up in the 70's
Sep 26, 2022
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was definitely a simpler way of life. I remember traveling the highway from Regina to Melfort on many occasions to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins to head out to the farm. It was always hot in the back seat of the car but we had our orange crush or cream soda (those were our car treats) to occupy our time. My sister and I would pass the time by counting cars or trucks, finding plates from other provinces, most likely all the same things I taught my own children. The best was when we would pass a semi-truck and we would give them the old “arm pull” to honk that horn, we were so excited to hear it go off and the driver was usually more than happy to oblige.
One of my favourite movies of all time is Big Trouble in Little China, where the lead character, Kurt Russell plays a truck driver. There were many famous truck driving movies and television shows in the 70’s and 80’s that portrayed the truck driving way of life. From action to comedy the hero drove a truck.
Here we are today in 2022 and the trucking industry faces a critical labour shortage not only in Saskatchewan but across the country. During the height of the pandemic, those drivers were cheered and applauded as the Hero’s of our Highways bringing much-needed supplies to our communities when the entire world shut down.
The latest Labour Market Information from Trucking HR Canada shows the largest decrease in truck driver employment was in the wholesale and retail trade sectors – down by 15% and 23% respectively from Q4 2021, with vacant driver jobs in the last quarter of 2021 totaling 22,155. Our economic recovery lies within the trucking industry and with escalating prices of fuel, labour shortages, and equipment shortages, consumers will ultimately be the bearers of these price increase.
The Consumer Price index rose by 6.7%, gas prices rose by 11.8% and were 39.8 per cent higher than a year ago. Year over year food prices has increased by +8.7% and in restaurants +5.4%. How do we think all these items got to the store or the gas station? By a truck and if there is no one to drive it, Carriers will start to prioritize their customers and what gets moved.
Saskatchewan is a province rich in natural resource exports and I have always been proud to call this province my home. Investments in our province from Helium to Canola Crushing are making an impact here and around the world. We are rich in Uranium and oil and each of these products need to be exported on a truck. The Saskatchewan Growth Plan lists 30 goals for 2030 and any number of those goals can be tied back to trucking. The Trucking Industry is the supply chain value add piece that our agriculture, manufacturing, and resource sectors need to move that production to market.
As the Saskatchewan Trucking Association celebrates its’ 85th Anniversary, I ask where have all the truck drivers gone? It is our goal at the Trucking Association to get out into the community, meet the next generation of potential drivers and educate those about the industry and the benefits it has to offer. So the next time you pass a Professional Truck Driver on the highway, give them the old “arm pull”, some traditions are worth holding onto.
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