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Covid Vaccination Requirement For Truckers At U.S.-Canada Border Threatens To Crimp Trade

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at November 19, 2021

Topline

A Canadian trucking industry group  said Thursday it expects 18% of Canadian truck drivers to no longer be able to cross the U.S.-Canada border in January when a U.S. Department of Homeland Security vaccine mandate goes into effect, threatening to worsen supply chain snarls that have already been exacerbated by a shortage of truck drivers.

Key Facts

Truck drivers had previously been exempt from showing proof of vaccination to enter the U.S. land border as they were classified as “essential travelers.”

The Canadian Trucking Alliance says 75% of cross-border truck freight is handled by Canadian drivers, and it expects 22,000 of these 120,000 drivers to stop their U.S. trips.

In 2020, $309 billion in truck freight crossed the Canadian border, accounting for 58.8% of all freight exchanged between the two countries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The trucking industry is suffering from major labor shortages: CTA estimates Canada is short 20,000 drivers and the American Trucking Association (ATA) says it’s down 80,000 truckers.

Following pushback from American truckers, the Biden Administration announced earlier this month that most domestic truckers will be exempt from federal vaccine mandates, and the CTA called for a similar exemption in its Thursday press release.

Tangent

Canada is the second-largest goods trading partner of the U.S. overall and the largest goods export market, per the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The top U.S. export categories to Canada are vehicles and machinery, while the top American import categories from Canada are mineral fuels and vehicles.

Big Number

Up to 37%. That’s the proportion of American truck drivers who may quit if faced with vaccine mandates, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in a written statement before his hearing before the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Wednesday.

Further Reading

Labor secretary says most truck drivers are exempt from Covid mandate, handing industry a win (CNBC)

Where Are All the Truck Drivers? Shortage Adds to Delivery Delays (Wall Street Journal)

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