Is the US/Canada border going to close because of Coronavirus?

March 24th Update:

The borders of the United States, Mexico and Canada have recently been closed to all non-commercial, non-essential traffic. While the border is technically still staffed and open, these governments are trying to discourage public travel between the three countries in order to slow down any spread of COVID-19.

Commercial traffic has not been affected and has currently seen no disruption or delays. Our Vancouver head office is located at the US / Canada border and has seen a substantial decrease in wait times in the last 5 days. Click here to view live webcams of Vancouver’s four main border crossings. 

Some US states like California, Texas, New York and the province of Ontario have passed restrictions for some non-essential businesses to close their doors. This is starting to disrupt supply chains throughout North America as there is mass confusion as to what is deemed essential or non-essential. We are finding many non-essential companies that have been asked to close, support essential companies. 

We are also seeing capacity shortages in Texas, California and British Columbia. A good practice is to ensure that your shippers or consignees are open and have plans in place to keep goods moving in the face of this pandemic. Extra lead time is extremely helpful for trucking companies during capacity shortages. 

Moto is prepared, ready and fully operational to help your company get through this challenging time. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your account manager for more information.  

March 16th:

Many of Moto’s customers have raised their concerns regarding what is going to happen to shipments and truck drivers crossing the border between the US and Canada, so we wanted to update our clients and carriers on what we know so far:

Currently, the border is NOT closed and is letting Canadian and US citizens through as long as their trip is considered essential or urgent. According to Justin Trudeau, these border restrictions DO NOT affect commerce or trade business, and freight will continue to flow between the two countries. 

Roughly 1.6 billion dollars of trade moves between the United States and Canada per day. Our guess is that only a major terrorist event (like 9/11) could close our trade gateways for a short period of time. As the two nations have a long history of open and undefended borders. 

The federal government of Canada is monitoring the situation, so more strict limits could be imposed as the situation evolves. At this point, we do not foresee the shipping industry being impacted as essential goods have to keep moving so we can continue to deal with the outbreak and the economy. 

As everyone is asked to self-isolate when re-entering Canada, how does it impact the drivers? 

Trucking company drivers are urged to self-quarantine when not at work, otherwise they are expected to keep our grocery stores and hospitals supplied.  

The Canadian government is advising Canadian citizens to get home as fast as possible since the COVID-19 / Coronavirus outbreak is getting worse and commercial public transport options may be limited due to the travel ban. Keep in mind that regardless of the situation, they will not refuse entry to a citizen of their own country.

How can you make sure that your shipment arrives on time?

Give your trucking company as much lead time as possible to help organize the freight pickup and delivery. Some companies, counties, provinces or states could restrict open times for business based on government recommendations. This could impact pick up and delivery times in our service areas and at our terminals. 

Make sure that your customs broker and trucking company both have a copy of the commercial invoice and the bill of lading ahead of time, in case there is processing slow down at Canada Customs or Customs and Border Protection offices. Our head office is located at the commercial truck crossing in Surrey and it is apparent that border wait times for trucks have increased since the outbreak started so be prepared for delays at the border and longer transit times. 

If you have any additional questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us at any time at 604.757.2441 or as we are fully operational throughout this pandemic and are always happy to help. Our trucks are still scheduled to move dry van LTL shipments weekly between Canada and the US.