The Canadian and U.S. governments have announced the closure of the border for all non-essential travel, but have stated that cross-border trade will continue and operators of vehicles in all modes will be able to continue to cross. It is reported that this closure will become effective overnight between Friday and Saturday. The railways and the trucking industry continue to monitor the impacts of the latest government actions on their respective industries.

Both CN and CP report are reporting that services on both sides of the border, and cross-border, are operating at reasonably normal levels. CP is anticipating fluidity problems affecting automotive shipments to auto compounds in St. Luc, QC, Agincourt, ON, Regina, SK and Cottage Grove, MN and has announced embargos with permits for this traffic beginning March 21.

With regard to trucking, British Colombia has announced temporary relief from the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations for provincially regulated trucking operators supplying emergency services related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that provincially regulated truckers in other provinces are considering asking for similar relief. FMA has written to the officials at Transport Canada requesting similar limited HOS relief for inter-provincial carriers, and is expecting a decision soon.

Ontario has announced measures to enhance trucking including suspension of constraints on deliveries. Effective immediately, deliveries can be made to retail outlets on a 7-24 basis. In addition, Ontario is extending the validity of drivers licences, licence plate validation, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration Certificates.

On Tuesday, we raised the possibility of asking the various provinces to waive the load restrictions due to spring thaw. This would provide some additional capacity. This was raised by one of the FMA members and any feedback on that would be of interest. FMA will also raise this with the major trucking industry associations.

Our focus in the FMA updates will be on supply-chain impacts. In this connection, it would be appreciated if FMA members could keep us informed of impacts on your respective operations, particularly any supply chain disruptions. This will be helpful in our continuing outreach to members and our communications with the government and with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. As always, all individual company information will be kept confidential.