COVID-19 and border crossing: an update for Canadian shipments

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In a March announcement, The United States and Canada agreed to restrict all non-essential trips across the common border. However, the supply chain and all its related activities fall under the “essential” business category and therefore border, port and airport operations continue but at reduced capacity. Keeping the flow of goods is critical to the nation and the thousands of employees that deliver goods and services in North America and around the world.    

Border crossings: Canada/United States: Canada and the USA see more than 25,000 trucks per day crossing the border between the two nations. The steady stream of goods and services are essential to the survival of all industries. We are pleased to advise that commercial trucking activity continues to this day at border crossings across Canada. Transport Canada, the Provinces and Territories, through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators have approved “hours-of-service” exemptions for federally regulated carriers related to the fight against COVID-19. This exemption allows transport carriers to continue to transport essential supplies and equipment in direct assistance to the emergency relief efforts. This exemption is valid until April 30th, at which point it will be re-evaluated.

Ports Canada: Port activity across Canada continues to see the fluid movement of containers both imports and exports.  As of April 6, 2020, the import container dwell, truck gate wait time and terminal truck turn time is all operating at normal levels at the Port of Halifax. Montreal Port is running at full capacity and all operations are normal. The Port of Vancouver has closed its administrative offices and the staff is working remotely but the port’s terminals are operational as cargo continues to move across the docks.  

International airports: Throughout the industry as a whole, the most impacted area of transportation is international air travel. With the grounding of many passenger aircrafts in North America and around the world, the capacity for cargo movement has been significantly reduced. Much of today’s cargo is being forced into Air Cargo Aircraft only and as such, air freight prices are continuing an upward trajectory as many airlines are abandoning their long-term pricing or blocked space agreements (BSAs) with customers. Today, each and every shipment is considered Ad-Hoc and immediate reservations are required to capture this highly coveted space.   

Rail operations: Since the service interruptions due to the blockades across Canada last month, the two key national rail service providers CP and CN have resumed full operations and continue to clear the backlog. Other than slight delays associated with these backlogs, the rail providers have put forth extra effort to make sure Canada and the USA are back on track.   

BDP International Canada has enacted our Business Continuity Plan to ensure the safety of our employees and uphold operational continuity for our customers.  

We are working hard to deliver on our customers' expectations and to continue delivering solutions in these difficult times. Should you have any questions or concerns related to Canadian shipments, please feel free to reach out to me directly.