US / Canada border closes for non-essential traffic

To stop the spread of COVID-19, the US and Canada have agreed to close the border to non-essential crossings, freeing up time and space for cargo to move swiftly between the two as a reduction in vehicle crossings enables trucks to move faster. Drivers and essential workers who travel between the two countries aren’t being impacted in this closure as cargo, especially concerning the medical equipment and supplies are in desperate need.

With the reduction in passenger flights this month and the delays in ocean cargo, some forwarders are relying on truck freight to move cargo up into Canada to catch the belly space of passenger flights that are still moving by Canadian airports. Air freight capacity in the US has reached a crunch point driving rates and spot quotes higher than expected as precious belly space is down to nil.

Drivers aren’t being held at the border longer than necessary so long as they have a valid work permit which settles fears that drivers would be stuck in one country or the other after making deliveries. The free flow of cargo between the nations is critical to keeping people supplied during quarantines, especially now in the US as supplies in stores dwindle amid panic buying and scarcity. The vicious circle of no goods on shelves leading to buy outs of whatever supplies manage to arrive leading to no goods on shelves, has forced retailers to put strict purchase controls into place to ensure the most vulnerable customers are able to get supplies before selling out. Some have instituted maximum counts of essential products while others are opening early for seniors and those with disabilities.

If you have concerns about your cross-border cargo, or the supply chain of your industry, we’re available by phone to answer your questions and provide creative solutions to get you through this complicated time in global logistics. We encourage you to reach out to your Nelson representative for our advice and council.