Cross-Border Trucking Businesses Brace For Impact as Warnings Over New Vax Rules Go Unheeded
Toronto, ON — Cross-border trucking businesses are bracing for impact as new COVID-19 vaccination requirements for truckers are set to go into effect this week.
Beginning January 15, cross-border truckers entering Canada must show proof of vaccination.
U.S. border officials will begin requiring foreign truck drivers to provide proof of full vaccination on January 22.
As Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has extensively reported, North American trucking stakeholders have been sounding the alarm for months about the possible dire impact the new requirements could have to an already stressed supply chain.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), it expects over 31,000 unvaccinated cross-border truckers will leave the industry.
Late last year, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), the country’s largest trucking group, announced the jarring results of a survey of its members.
CTA indicated 20% of the 120,000 Canadian truck drivers crossing the border (22,000), and 40% of the 40,000 U.S. cross-border truck drivers (16,000), will “almost immediately exit” the Canada-U.S. trade system.
“This is a supply chain issue that can have severe ripple effects throughout the entire North American economy,” said CTA President Stephen Laskowski.
These groups have been trying to convince Canadian governmental leaders to delay or exempt truckers from the draconian requirements, but have so far been unsuccessful.
Rob Penner, CEO of Winnipeg, MB-based mega carrier Bison Transport, tells TNN imposing the mandate on the trucking community is a “slap in the face.”
“We have asked our nations drivers to keep working and keep essential goods and our collective economies going throughout the pandemic. They have stepped up and answered the call, and they have kept themselves safe and healthy in the process,” he said. “To now insist they need to be vaccinated to qualify to do the same work is a slap in the face to these women and men.”
A new Reuters report indicated Canadian governmental officials expect to lose 5% of its truck driving workforce as a result of its COVID-19 policies.
Penner says such a loss will result in painful consequences to consumers on both sides of the border.
“If we lose even 5% of those drivers due to this policy there will be major supply chain disruptions and this will continue to drive up inflation on both sides of the border as we continue to put self inflicted bottlenecks in the supply chain,” he warned.
Meanwhile in the U.S., trucking stakeholders, along with a group of Republican senators, are urging the Biden Administration to suspend its cross-border vaccination requirements for truckers as well.
In a letter sent to President Biden in December of last year, 14 Republican senators noted that there are “approximately 14,000 total truck entries along the U.S.-Canada border hauling more than $846 million of goods,” and cautioned “any disruptions to the continuity of U.S.-Canada trade would likely have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond our shared border.”
So far, just as remains the case in Canada, warnings from the U.S. trucking community are going unheeded by the White House.