Truckers adopt real-time wireless solution

Canada’s largest commercial transport carrier thinks it has found something to get it moving even faster.

Partners AirIQ Inc. of Pickering, Ont. and Burnaby, B.C.-based Wireless Data Inc. announced Thursday that Toronto-based Canada Cartage has selected their wireless automated dispatch solution. The deal, worth $810,000, should mean more information and less paperwork for truckers and fleets, said Mitch Blumberg, managing director at eDispatch.

“We have been looking for ways to demonstrate to the markets we serve that we have this combined strength as a joint company offering complementary services,” he said. “This kind of fills in the missing gap. When you think of the big tractor-trailer, you have the tractor and you have the trailer, but you also have the driver. This will ease the lives of those on the road and those in the home office.”

It will also save Canada Cartage “about a rainforest’s worth of paperwork,” said the company’s operations manager Barry Garside.

“Overall, it will definitely improve productively and communications,” Garside said. “We will be able to be in real-time communications with our drivers without the cost of the cell phones, and we can tell our customers at exactly what time drivers will arrive. Drivers won’t be waiting to call in because they will be able to do it themselves.”

The only challenge, Blumberg said, is how quickly this system can get up and running. He added that, by Christmas, eDispatch’s wireless automated dispatch system will be extended the drivers in two fleets; the general cartage fleet and the overnight fleet. Since these fleets work with both scheduled and unscheduled routes, they are the best candidates for this the real-time, automated wireless dispatching. The service will allow dispatchers to keep in touch with drivers to receive status updates.

“This lowers the cost of communications dramatically, like 35 to 40 per cent, and it increases productivity in the range of 25 to 100 per cent,” he said. “The less paperwork, well that is a dream come true and yet, ironically, it is still more information.”

Miguel Gonsalves, vice-president of commercial transport at AirIQ, said this deal puts Canada Cartage well ahead of other transport companies.

“They have to schedule jobs for drivers and handle jobs that are unscheduled, that comes up at the last minute,” he said. “This gives them the flexibility to communicate, real-time, to the person. When you are trying to manage 650 drivers all over Ontario and Quebec and North America, to be able to automate communications with them and the paper-trail is of huge benefit to them.”

Canada Cartage, which has been using AirIQ’s services for over a year, is the second joint customer of eDispatch and AirIQ, since the two companies entered into an agreement to merge on Aug. 1.

AirIQ’s wireless fleet management service is already installed in much of Canada Cartage’s fleet to keep track of vehicles, take remote inventory and track shipments.

Eamon Hoey, a senior partner at Hoey Associates, said that while there is nothing new about being able to track people as technology evolves, the real evolution has been in the costs.

“This is a significant market here that we are looking at,” he said. “It is more than just following the truckers to see where they stop it, it is for the requirements of manufacturers. A lot of companies in Southern Ontario have been glued to the just-in-time stuff, but they had no technology to deliver it other than stopping at the closest payphone on the 401.”

He explained that large manufacturing companies lose money and time if trucks are backed up at outside the door of plants, waiting to be unloaded because companies no longer want to invest in storage capacity.

“What you want is to disembark product from the truck and put it on the assembly line,” he said. “If you miss the window, there is a huge penalty. It far exceeds the costs of these services. There’s a huge market for this stuff.”

Garside said this would also become an important selling point for customers to use Canada Cartage. He explained that customers don’t react well when he tells them that dispatchers have to wait for truckers to call in to find out if they will be on time.

“It will cut down on dispatch hours also,” he said. “It’s a time saver.”

Pickering, Ont.-based AirIQ is at Wireless Data Inc. is at

Canada Cartage is at