Canadian truckers break over vaccine mandate
A standoff with Canadian truckers rejecting COVID-19 vaccine regulations has brought supply chains to a halt along the U.S. border.
The self-proclaimed “Freedom Truck Convoy” on the Ambassador Bridge connecting Canada to Detroit has been blocking transit for nearly a week. It’s one of the largest international crossings in North America. Rerouted traffic to the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron has seen similar backlogs as truckers protest Canada’s border vaccine mandate.
Canada is one of the country’s top trading ag partners and Michigan’s largest as the state exports more than $1 billion of ag products across the border. President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association Chuck Lippstreu tells Brownfield vaccine requirements are disrupting an already stressed supply chain.
“Because it’s taking truck drivers out of international service who we desperately need,” he explains.
Lippstreu estimates 30 to 50 percent of truck drivers are disqualified from traveling between the two countries following last month’s mandates.
“In agriculture along all of our border states we have such interconnected economies and so much two-way transit of agricultural products, we just can’t afford to have trade disruptions,” he says.
Michigan Farm Bureau tells Brownfield more than 25 percent of bilateral trade between the U.S. and Canada crosses the Ambassador Bridge while daily two-way agriculture trade at the port of Detroit in February has averaged $42.5 million.
Serious economic impacts from a week of stalled trade are compounding with several manufacturing plants now closed with the stopped supply chain.
Federal, state, and Canadian officials are calling for an end to the blockade with police preparing to remove protesters while hoping for a peaceful resolution.
Similar protests have been reported at the border in North Dakota.