When the coronavirus pandemic hit North America, cross-border traffic between the United States and Canada dropped significantly; however, it is now returning to near-normal levels. This is a sign that economic recovery is in the midst. Trucking is one of the indicators that the economic malaise is soon over.
The latest data on cross-border traffic is more than good news for the trucking industry. According to Rebekah Young, an economist from Scotiabank, consumption is back in a pretty good way. Demand for the movement of goods is increasing very quickly after months of lockdowns and travel restrictions. Manufacturing and production are ramping up because consumption is going up in real-time.
Since March 21 last year, the US-Canada border has remained closed to travel to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. However, even if there were no restrictions on commercial shipments between the two countries, commercial truck traffic dropped steeply. It was a reflection of low demand, production stoppage, and travel uncertainty.
According to data from Canada Border Service Agency on cross-border travel, commercial truck traffic to Canada dropped by 36.6% in April. By the week starting August 17, the number of commercial trucks that have crossed the border reached the 2019 levels. This means a return to normalcy for the trucking industry.
During the early months of the pandemic, one of the biggest concerns was the supply chain of essential goods particularly food. The problem was cost because it became more expensive to move everything around. It also costs more to produce and process food. Right now, the situation seems to be under control particularly in North America where everything has remained operational.
Meanwhile, there are warnings that the trucking industry must not be overly optimistic because the rebound is due to pent-up demand. Things are expected to slow down because unemployment numbers are still elevated.
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