The flow of freight between the United States and Canada could be slowed beginning in January, as both countries’ governments adopt more stringent COVID-19 vaccine requirements for cross-border truck traffic.
“All inbound foreign national travellers seeking to enter the United States via land points of entry or ferry terminals — whether for essential or nonessential reasons — must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination,” said a bulletin from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While the Nov. 29 announcement said the restrictions would be adopted in January, no date has been set.
In Canada, from January 15 2022, certain groups of travellers — among them essential providers including truck drivers, who are currently exempt from COVID-19 entry requirements — will be allowed to enter Canada only if they have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine.
American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello expressed concern about adoption of the new requirements at a time when supply chains are stretched.
“Canada had not required its domestic drivers to get vaccinated, so they are only really doing this because the U.S. government has said it will require it for their citizen-drivers,” he said. “The border situation could get really dicey for the supply chains in mid-January when all of this happens.”
Costello noted that the Canadian government is not planning to offer exemptions for truck drivers who have not received a vaccine.
A survey of nearly 1,200 truck drivers released in November by driver recruitment firm Conversion Interactive Agency found that almost 55% of U.S. drivers had received the COVID-19 vaccination, while 36% said they had no intention of receiving it. At the time, about 9% had not received a shot but planned to do so.
“With a significant percentage of drivers having no plans for vaccination, this sets up a challenge for motor carriers depending on how vaccine mandates play out both on the federal and state level,” the report said.
A proposal from the Biden administration that would require vaccinations or regular COVID-19 testing for those working at companies with 100 or more employees is currently on hold and is being litigated at the federal appeals court level.
While it supports vaccinations, American Trucking Associations has warned that the proposed federal vaccine mandate could have a negative effect on the supply chain.
Source: Transport Topics
SUBSCRIBE TO LOGISTICS BRIEFING:
Get the latest logistics news and high level analysis delivered straight to your inbox: