US-Canada border vaccine mandate ending should help supply chain
Canada ending its vaccine requirement ends Saturday
LEROY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - People won’t need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross into Canada starting Saturday.
The Canadian government is letting its vaccine mandate expire.
Michigan trucking companies said this will help get products on store shelves.
MBH Trucking, just south of Webberville in Leroy Township, usually has 15 semis crossing into Canada but it’s only been allowed to use five with a vaccine mandate in place.
“If they took a day off, that day was missed, that load was missed. There was no supplement,” said Brian Hitchcock, who owns MBH Trucking.
Hitchcock has trucks carrying food and diesel exhaust fluid from Canada into Michigan.
“We’ve had the worst time in my 40 years of doing this of being able to deliver products in a timely fashion,” said Hitchcock.
Canada put in a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for visitors back in January, and it’s caused several problems for the supply chain.
The American Trucking Association says only 50% to 60% of truckers have the COVID-19 vaccine and protests over the mandate closed the Ambassador Bridge in February.
“When we started being late, people were out. We couldn’t get that extra in,” said Hitchcock.
Canada is one of Michigan’s largest customers.
Before the vaccine mandate, $45 billion worth of goods crossed the U.S.-Canada border every month.
Hitchock said he did what he could to get deliveries across the border, including keeping drivers in Canada and having someone else make the final delivery.
“We were able to keep the supply chain going but never at a seeded level we needed to be at,” said Hitchcock.
Starting Saturday, he won’t have to rely on the same five drivers crossing the border. That’s when people crossing into Canada won’t have to show proof they are vaccinated.
“Flexibility is everything in making sure we make timely deliveries to everyone and on time. When you restrict that to certain drivers or trucks, it becomes a problem getting there,” said Hitchcock.
Hitchcock said even with the vaccine mandate lifted, it will still take a few months to get everything up to speed.
The United States still requires visitors coming here to be vaccinated. However, it is considering lifting that mandate.
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