Today’s Pickup: More freight, more problems on North America’s busiest highway

A firefighter walks by a burnt-out tractor-trailer on Ontario Highway 401 near toronto Canada

Good day,

A fiery crash involving three tractor-trailers briefly shut down North America’s busiest highway on Tuesday, June 2, as trucks contend with a rebound in freight and the long-standing dangers in moving it. 

The accident happened on Ontario Highway 401, near Toronto. It left one driver seriously injured, the Ontario Provincial Police said. It briefly shut down traffic in both directions. 

Such accidents are unfortunately common on the single most important corridor for Canadian trucking for both cross-border U.S. freight and domestic runs. While the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically cut traffic on the highway, traffic is increasing as Canadian and U.S. authorities reopen their economies. 

The increase in truckload freight volumes in Toronto on FreightWaves' SONAR plarform
More freight is moving out of Toronto, according to the Outbound Tender Volume Index on FreightWaves’ SONAR platform (OTVI:YYZ).

Canadian freight volumes have resumed their push higher after pausing for a break for Canada’s Victoria Day and the U.S.’s  Memorial Day holidays, according to FreightWaves SONAR platform. 

The SONAR Outbound Tender Volume Index for Toronto (OTVI.YYZ), which tracks loads leaving a market, had recovered about 58% from its April lows as of Tuesday. 

The increase in truckload freight volumes in Canada on FreightWaves' SONAR plarform
The strength extends Canadawide, according to the Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI.CAN).

The recovery Canada-wide is similar. The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Canada (OTVI-CAN) has also increased 59% from its April lows – outperforming its U.S. cousin


“You can’t drive into a riot situation because you are going to lose.”

– Ronnie Sellers, former truck driver and a retired police officer, discussing how truckers can handle the civil unrest in U.S. cities in a report from FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes

Did you know?

The maritime industry contributed $373 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018. Its growth also outpaced the national GDP, according to new U.S. Department of Commerce data.

In other news:

Trucker arrested after tractor-trailer drives through Maine protest

A truck driver was arrested after police say he drove a tractor-trailer through a group of protesters in Portland, Maine. (Bangor Daily News)

CP completes Central Maine & Quebec Railway US acquisition 

The previously announced deal adds 244.2 miles route-miles in Maine and Vermont to Canadian Pacific’s network. (Newswire)

Can India lure Apple away from China?

The Indian government unveiled a new, inventive scheme for electronics manufacturers after Apple indicated its interest in shifting production from China. (JDSupra)

Energy consortium successfully pilots blockchain 

The Oil and Gas Blockchain Consortium completed a pilot project to automate water management at a facility in North Dakota. (Ledger Insights

Final thoughts:

The Canadian and Ontario governments recently announced that they were moving ahead on a project to add four lanes to a stretch of Highway 401 near Toronto. Once completed, the project should make life easier for truck drivers – once they’ve endured the construction.

Hammer down, everyone!