Carriers Already Losing Capacity Due to Canada’s New Cross-Border Mandate
Winnipeg, MB — It’s only been a few days since the Canadian government followed through on plans to impose new restrictions on cross-border truckers and already carriers are feeling the pinch.
On Saturday, January 15, Canada began enforcing a vaccination, testing and quarantining mandate on cross-border truckers.
The U.S. is scheduled to begin implementation of a similar policy on Saturday, January 22, despite repeated warnings from trucking stakeholders on both sides of the border.
For months trucking experts have been warning that if Canadian and U.S. governmental leaders imposed such requirements on cross-border truckers, the supply chain would slow even further as many thousands of truck drivers would simply exit the industry rather than take the jab.
Groups like the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimated the industry could lose as many as 40,000 truckers.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) is already receiving a flood of anecdotal reports from truckers that many are quitting.
A Reuters report indicated that even the Canadian government expects to lose 5% of the country’s trucking workforce because of the draconian policy.
Stakeholders like Rob Penner, CEO of Winnipeg, MB-based carrier Bison Transport, told TNN such a loss would cause “major supply chain disruptions and continue to drive up inflation” since it would inevitably lead to shipping delays and send freight rates skyrocketing resulting in even higher prices for consumers.
Penner, who leads a fleet of approximately 2,600 trucks — with more than 1,000 trucks now operating in the U.S. and doing cross-border work — confirmed to TNN on Tuesday that Bison has lost 10% of its cross-border capacity since the mandate took effect.
The company is now offering a C$2,500 sign-on bonus to attract cross-border haulers, which Penner acknowledges will have to be passed on to customers.
Consumers of perishable products are likely to see prices rise most quickly.
Bloomberg is reporting the cost of transporting produce out of California and Arizona to Canada jumped 25% last week as fewer trucks were available to cross the border, according to George Pitsikoulis, president and CEO of Montreal-based distributor Canadawide Fruits.
Freight rates to haul other commodities are also soaring in the wake of the cross-border rules.
Canadian owner-operator Brigette Belton is leased to Landstar and told TNN she is receiving offers from shippers unlike any she’s seen before.
For instance, this week she was offered a 2,300-mile dry van load picking up in Louisiana and delivering to Alberta on January 26 for $10,000.
Belton said similar loads she has hauled would normally pay about $3,500.
Meanwhile, truckers are already protesting the cross-border rules and are planning a “Freedom Convoy” across the country in the days ahead.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow this story closely.