OTTAWA, Ont. — Cross-border truck trips between Ontario and the US were down for the third straight year in 2007, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) reports.
The 2007 numbers are the lowest since 1998, according to figures compiled by the Bridge and Tunnel Operator’s Association. OTA president David Bradley said the numbers are “clear and unequivocal evidence of the extent to which Ontario’s export based economy has been battered by the combination of a high dollar, high fuel costs, the ever-increasing thickening of the border, and slackening US demand.”
Statistics showed there were 8,049,136 truck trips across the Ontario/US border in 2007, down 2.6% compared to the year before. Even in 2001, the year of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the US, cross-border truck traffic was higher than in 2007.
“Trucking activity is a leading economic indicator, and these numbers should be a wake-up call to governments at all levels that there is a very real need for them to act now to help Ontario’s economy cope with the challenges currently confronting it,” Bradley said. “We think it is time for the Bank of Canada to aggressively reduce interest rates in Canada in order to spur economic growth and to moderate the value of the dollar.”
Bradley also repeated his calls for improved efficiencies at the border.
“The costs and difficulties of crossing the border are seriously undermining Ontario’s ability to trade in the US market,” Bradley insisted. “Despite the investment of millions of dollars by the trucking industry in new security measures supposedly designed to facilitate legitimate trade, wait times at the border have not come down, and in many cases we are still subject to frequent, long delays.”
“We need better infrastructure and we need governments on both sides of the border to get serious about coordinating, harmonizing and improving the delivery of border security programs so that both security and trade facilitation goals are met,” Bradley added.
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