Trucking

Five Burning Questions: Vaccine Obligations for Cross-Border Trucking

Since Saturday, the cross-border trucking community is facing the first phase of vaccine mandate. The Government of Canada first enforces that restriction. US truck drivers can only cross the border if they can show evidence that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.Meanwhile, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers Face testing and quarantine.. A week later, on January 22, the United States Expected to implement a similar policy Located on the border between Canada and Mexico.

Vaccine obligations, first announced in October, mark the end of some era for cross-border truck drivers between pandemics. Since March 2020, truck drivers, along with other important workers, have been exempt from various restrictions imposed on regular travelers. Despite backlash from industry groups such as the Canadian Trucking Alliance, American Trucking Associations, and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the obligations seem to be on track.

1. What do truck drivers need to cross the Canadian border?

US drivers cannot cross the border unless they can prove that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on shots accepted in Canada. Acceptable vaccines include two shots of Pfizer, a single dose of BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson.Drivers are told to submit vaccination proof in advance via a government app called ArriveCan, But also make a copy of the paper available for presentation to Canada Border Services Agency officers.

For Canadian drivers, the situation is a little different because citizens and permanent residents are not barred from entering the country. Instead, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated drivers face compulsory quarantine and testing upon arrival.

2. How many drivers are expected to drop out of US-Canada cross-border trucks?

The Canadian Trucking Alliance and American Trucking Associations predict that out of 160,000, 26,000, or just over 16%, drivers will not cross the border because of their obligations. Approximately 75% of cargo carried between countries is processed by Canadian drivers. On the other hand, about 88% of Canadians over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated. As CTA Chairman Steve Raskowski pointed out, “We have a high immunization rate, but even 10% to 15%, it’s a lot of trucks.”

Craig Germain, chief operating officer of Toronto-based XTL Transport, said only a handful of drivers chose not to be vaccinated. As a result, it doesn’t matter seriously.

“Maybe domestic cargo will be enough. They have a job. The question is, do they want to go back and cross the border,” Germain said.

Despite the high vaccination rates of XTL, Germain said cross-border drivers are likely to be significantly lost in large industries, especially for small carriers based outside metropolitan areas. Said.

“You will culminate,” he said. “If someone is busy enough in the country, slide the capacity there, but it’s not a complete replacement for those trucks.”

3. But do many of those drivers actually leave?

No one thinks there is a mass outflow of truck drivers.

Matt Silver, founder and CEO of Chicago-based cross-border logistics company Forager, said economics takes precedence over the desire not to be vaccinated.

“They have to make a choice: do they want to keep making money or be stubborn?” Silver said. “I think the effect is small.”


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However, the calculation is different for US and Canadian drivers. The US domestic freight market is far more profitable than the Canadian freight market. In short, Canadian drivers are hit hard by quitting cross-border work. Competition for trucking jobs in Canada is also intensifying.

Peter Stefanovich, president of Left Lane Associates, a Toronto-based transportation M & A advisory firm, believes the driver spill will be temporary.

“Today’s vaccine obligations are no different from what happened with the US ELD obligations in 2018,” he said. “It caused a lot of headaches in the short to medium term. The driver left, but eventually came back.”

4. What is the market telling us?

As capacity gets tighter, airlines are rejecting more loads in Canada. Canada’s truck load has not caught up with the United States in 2021. (Chart: Freight Waves SONAR. For more information on FreightWaves SONAR, click here.. )

According to data from FreightWaves’ SONAR platform and conversations with brokers, Canada’s capacity shrank significantly in December, a trend that continues until January. Various factors are involved. The volume is good.Catastrophic weather Hit British Columbia — And the main railroad tracks. Many fleets are not fully competent on vacation and people are sick from Omicron variants. As a result, even a slight reduction in cross-border trucking capacity can have a significant impact.

Rob Piccioni, CEO based in Montreal Fuel transportation, The freight broker of his company said he had not seen a significant loss of capacity from its partner’s carrier.

“It wasn’t like’Hey, we lost a lot of drivers’,” Piccioni said.

Piccioni said he did not anticipate an immediate catastrophic shock to the supply chain. However, it is rather a slow burn, which gets worse in the spring as the amount increases.

“We see the impact in February and March,” he said. “For now, it’s too early to tell.”

5. What will happen next?

The US government first announced mandatory vaccines for essential cross-border workers, including truck drivers. The exact start date has not been announced, but reports citing anonymous officials say it will take place on January 22nd.

However, the lack of an official date and unclear instructions on how this works for Canadian drivers entering the United States frowned.

CTA’s Laskowski said he was concerned that the industry did not have clear instructions on how drivers would comply with the US side’s certification of vaccination requirements.

“We are concerned about showing compliance as vaccinated drivers turn pages to ensure they carry their luggage across national borders. We need a compliance system. This is very important for the truck industry. It’s reasonable, “says Laskowski.

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