Expect slow traffic day for shipments, say associations, transport officials

by Canadian Shipper

Traffic is moving across Canada-U.S. border points, but it will be a slow day for shipments, as authorities at the various border crossing points respond to a heightened border alert.

The Canadian Industrial Transportation Association’s president, Lisa MacGillivray, told CT&L that shippers could expect further delays today.

“Customs is telling us that the borders are open but it’s very slow. CN has also announced delays. Immigration and Customs are going through everything with a fine-toothed comb,” she said.

MacGillivray said the current state of JIT transport is now wait and see.

“I suspect they’re doing it day by day until people figure out what’s happening. I think goods are probably moving in the right direction, it’s just going to take a little time to get stuff over the border,” she said.

Motor carriers caught at those border points must be armed with patience today.

“The borders are still open-apparently things are just really slow, not only for trucks but for passenger cars as well,” Ontario Trucking Association spokesperson Rebecka Torn told CT&L.

She says that reports of increased business for trucks as a result of airport closures haven’t been substantiated this side of the border, especially since there is an expectation that flights may resume over the next day or so.

“There’s some talk of flights resuming today, but nothing official has come through yet,” said Torn.

The Ontario Trucking Association reported yesterday afternoon that border inspection staff were reported to be scrutinizing all vehicles very carefully, and that carriers should anticipate delays at border crossings for at least the next two to three days. Initial media reports yesterday had suggested that many border points were at risk of closing.

The OTA also reported that Whirlpool Bridge has closed with staff deployed to other area bridges, and that Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge were both open.

In addition, OTA received confirmation that the Peace Bridge in Windsor and the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia also remain open.

Meanwhile, Transport Canada says that in other areas of the transportation sector, shipping continues to move on the St. Lawrence Seaway, though with some restrictions having been instituted by Canadian and U.S. authorities.

“These include special security measures at the Eisenhower, Schnell, and St. Lambert locks. In addition, following a risk assessment, some foreign vessels using the seaway are being searched, while Canadian and U.S. ships are continuing to move on a normal basis. Rail freight continues to move across the border, but Amtrak rail service destined for the United States is being transferred to bus service at the border,” said Transport Minister David Collenette.

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