News of vaccine mandates and subsequent protests by truckers causing major disruptions to the U.S. or Canadian economy or trucking market has been floating around. However, the latest data by Fourkites illustrates a different picture.
The reports state, that the vaccine mandates’ and subsequent protests’ impacts on shipping volumes and on-time deliveries had some effect, but no major disruption.
As per the data, the average wait times between the US and Canada saw an increase of 17% in mid-January, followed by 26% at the end of the month. As of 10 February, wait times for Canada to US travel were trending up at 23%, while US to Canada travel was trending up by more than 40% for Monday/Tuesday shipments compared to Monday/Tuesday of the previous week.
This has all translated into volatility in on-time delivery, which as of 8 February was trending down slightly for Canada to US travel, and down almost 10% for the US to Canada travel for Monday/Tuesday shipments, compared to Monday/Tuesday of the previous week, the data suggests.
Shipping volumes across the US-Canada border in mid-to-late January witnessed a significant decrease, with back-to-back decreases of 7% during the weeks of 15 January and 22 January.
As of mid-February, US-bound truck shipments from Canada have bounced back up around 23% — likely a result of Canadian exporters trying to expedite freight stranded by protests as well as winter storms. US-to-Canada travel has also rebounded by 15%.
While FourKites data indicates no far-reaching impact across Canada or the US, the situation remains volatile near the border. Notably, the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario was closed for nearly a week. The bridge handles around 8,000 trucks a day – about 25% of US-Canada trade – meaning its closure had an outsized impact, which pushed the costs higher. Fourkites believes that if additional protests disrupt for an extended period, a more severe impact can be observed on intra-Canadian truckload pricing and a slight impact on US pricing.
The number of rerouted trucks also increased for both Canada-US and US-Canada travel. At the peak of disruptions on 8 February, trucks going both directions were traveling up to 9% farther to cover the same ground as before the protests. Since then, the distance traveled has reduced to 2% higher than the pre-mandate average for Canada to the US, and 4% higher than the pre-mandate average from the US to Canada.