Cross-border truck traffic rebounded sharply in mid-February, as border blockades supporting ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters were dismantled.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) processed 107,599 truck drivers from Feb. 14-20, reaching levels seen during that same week in 2020.
Overall volumes had plunged during border blockades at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont.; Coutts, Alta.; Emerson, Man.; and Surrey B.C. – dropping under 99,000 truck drivers during each of the first two weeks in the month. The Ambassador Bridge alone handles more than 7,000 trucks in a typical day.
During Feb. 14-20 in 2021, 100,689 truck drivers crossed the Canada-U.S. border, compared to 107,595 during the same week in 2020, and 105,592 in 2019.
Police dismantled the Ambassador Bridge blockade, which was in place from Feb. 5-13, after Ontario declared a state of emergency and a court injunction was issued Feb. 11. Another long-running blockade in Coutts ran Jan. 29-14, and was dismantled shortly after RCMP seized weapons and body armor, leading to multiple arrests.
The Emerson blockade ran from Feb. 10-16, but protesters dispersed without any arrests.
Two border blockades appeared at the Pacific Highway border crossing in Surrey, B.C., while protesters also slowed traffic in Sarnia and Fort Erie, Ont.
Outside the blockades that were protesting public health measures, vaccine mandates for border-crossing truck drivers have led to little change in overall volumes. The 106,000 truck drivers processed Jan. 24-30 was actually up from 97,000 in the previous week.
While fewer truck drivers crossed the Canada-U.S. border in the week after Canada’s vaccine mandate was imposed, the drop aligned with an overall drop in traffic overall.
Canada introduced its vaccine mandate for border-crossing truck drivers on Jan. 15, while the U.S. mirrored those rules on Jan. 22.
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