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Border vaccine requirement could slow supply chain

Canada started enforcing trucker vaccine mandate
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:02 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It could be getting even harder to get everything on your shopping list.

American semi-drivers now need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Canada. Canada started enforcing a vaccine mandate at the border over the weekend, turning away unvaccinated truckers.

Read: Mid-Michigan residents’ bottom line impacted by rise in inflation

“It’s going to be harder and harder for us. The delays this weekend were two to three hours which normally there’s no delay,” said Brian Hitchcock, president of the Michigan Trucking Association.

The American Trucking Association said only 50% to 60% of truckers have the COVID-19 vaccine.

Canada is one of Michigan’s largest customers. Before the vaccine mandate, $45 billion worth of goods crossed the U.S. - Canadian border every month.

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Hauling goods across the border is nearly half of MBH Trucking’s business.

Hitchcock said only half of his drivers who take Canadian runs are vaccinated.

“Automatically we drive our cost of transportation through the roof because our efficiency has gone out the door,” said Hitchcock, who is also MBH Trucking’s CEO.

Hitchcock said he’s are going to have to change his operation to keep crossing into Canada.

“The driver that’s vaccinated comes across the border unhooks, takes an empty, and goes straight back. He doesn’t deliver the load here in Michigan. We’ll have an unvaccinated driver delivering the load,” he said.

Hitchcock said this means things like food and car parts are going to get harder to find and cost more. And things will only get worse.

“We have to look at how long we can do this and there’s already a shortage. I know of other carriers in the U-P in Michigan that just left that particular line of business and went and did something else,” said Hitchcock,

The U.S. is also requiring Canadian truck drivers to be vaccinated, to cross the border, starting Saturday.

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