6 Facts of the Canadian Trucking Industry

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[Updated June 2022]

Canada’s economic strength relies heavily on an efficient, safe, secure, and sustainable freight transportation system. Whether it’s moving a load from one end of Canada to the other or cross-border trucking from Canada into the US, the system must provide for the flexible, reliable, and economic movement of goods.

  • Roadside truck stops around North America can expect to stay busy as the trucking industry continues to thrive. This diverse industry is made up of a few large companies and thousands of small and medium-sized businesses around the US and Canada.

    As a matter of fact, Canada is the USA’s top trading partner, making up 17.9% of all of the USA’s exports in 2020. Canada and the USA trade a whopping 1.7 billion in goods and services daily. Yes, you read that right. Daily. Of that, the most commonly exported commodities were energy products and vehicles (Canada to the USA), as well as machinery and mechanical appliances (the USA to Canada).
    The Canadian Trucking Alliance reports that in Canada alone, the trucking industry is worth over $65 billion with more than 324,200 drivers (as of 2021.) and over 400,000 employees overall.
  • The nation’s freight system is a partnership between the public and private sectors, with each sector providing substantial parts of the physical infrastructure for these movements. According to Freight Facts and Figures, the largest of these movements continues to be the trucking industry, which is responsible for moving 60.1 percent of volume and 69.5 percent of value around the globe.
  • Statistics showed that 90 percent of all consumer products and foodstuffs were shipped by truck throughout Canada, and almost two-thirds (by value) by trade with the US, which remains Canada’s largest trading partner. Without the trucking industry, the wheels of commerce would stop rolling.
  • As a whole, the trucking industry generates more than $67.8 billion in revenues each year between private carriers, courier firms, for-hire carriers, and owner-operators. Trucking firms or freight carriers accounted for 57 percent of the for-hire revenues of the industry. There were approximately 134,000 Canadian for-hire companies on the roads in 2019. Since then, that number has continued to grow. Heavy truck freight carriers accounted for 21.8 billion vehicle kilometers, while medium-sized trucks accounted for 7.4 billion kilometers.
  • Trucking is a key trade facilitator between Canada and the United States. Approximately two-thirds of Canada-US trade is moved by truck, including more than 80 percent of all US exports to Canada. Canadian for-hire trucking firms are responsible for just over 80 percent of the total tonnage shipped intra-provincially.
  • Truckload transportation adds to the national economy by providing jobs for millions of people. While the number of jobs in the trucking industry continues to rise, the key to keeping this interconnected network in balance is ensuring the capacity for growth and reliability of services.

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