WINDSOR, Ont. — Trucks were forced to wait hours in line yesterday at border crossings while Customs agents on both sides of the borders searched vehicles and double-checked identification papers.
Rumors spread that the border was closed, but traffic was allowed in and out of the country – albeit at a snails pace.
Ontario Provincial Police Const. Doug Graham warned drivers to avoid the Windsor crossing at all costs. "It’s a parking lot out there," Graham tells local media. He estimated the traffic reached at least seven kilometres in both directions.
Meanwhile, it was much the same in the west, where Gordon Luchia, spokesman for Canada Customs, says all vehicles were checked meticulously.
"All of the events as they have unfolded have caused us to go on a high state of alert and our people are on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary or anything suspicious that might cause some concern," Luchia said.
There were also delays at the normally friendly stop at the bridge linking the Maine cities of St. Stephen and Calais, where traffic was slowed due to long searches by Customs officials.
However, traffic continued to slowly make its way through to the U.S. throughout the day and by 4:30 p.m. Customs agents urged the public to stop calling and assured the border would remain open.
Many truckers faced the same scrutiny that other motorists did. North America’s largest trade services provider, Livingston International, says that all their trucks were searched and no freight was being accepted at airports in Toronto or Montreal.
Auto plants on both sides of the border were forced to close, as the flaws involved with just-in-time delivery became clear. Important parts were held up in trucks at border crossings, making it impossible for the factories to carry on with production.
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