COVID-19 Bulletin: May 22

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CTA One-Page Infographic on Carrier Business Conditions Poll 

CTA has designed a one-page infographic illustrating the major point s in its latest Business Conditions Survey, which details the challenges facing carriers during the COVOD-19freight market. Click here: CTA-Business Conditions Report-Infographic_public


New Brunswick Begins COVID-19 Testing for Truck Drivers at Border

 The province of New Brunswick will soon be implementing voluntary testing for trucks that cross the provincial border at Saint-Jacques. The voluntary testing will be done for inbound truck drivers, and will include a quick swab test for COVID-19, with an estimated turnaround for tests results within 24-48 hrs.

With approximately 600 trucks a day crossing into New Brunswick from Saint-Jacques, the province aims to test at least 1 of 6 truck drivers, or roughly 100 drivers per day. Truck drivers that are tested will be required to fill out contact forms and other information and will be contacted immediately should they test positive for the virus.

Although testing is currently voluntary, the province has indicated that if participation from truck drivers is low, they would consider making the policy a mandatory practice at the border point.

There are a number of provinces that are currently examining the possibility of testing truck drivers as a way to boost testing numbers and further mitigate the spread of the disease, by testing individuals that travel outside of provincial borders or into the U.S.

CTA will continue to work with all provincial associations on the latest details of these plans as they are announced.


Canada-US Border Restriction Extended as Traffic Continues to Plummet

Canada and the U.S. have agreed to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel until June 21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this week.

The restrictions, which are not applicable to commercial vehicles, were first introduced in late March, and then extended until May 21, to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Trudeau was asked whether there is a possibility of a further extension beyond June 21.

“The situation is changing rapidly and we’re adjusting constantly to what is the right measures for Canadians to get that balance right between keeping people safe and restoring a semblance of normality and economic activity that we all rely on.”

The Canada Border Services Agency has reported a sharp decline in both passenger and truck arrivals since the measures went into effect.

It said truck driver arrivals during the week of May 11-17 declined 31% to just over 81,000 from nearly 117,000 in the same period in 2019.

During the week of May 4 -10, there was a 33% decline in truck crossings.

Overall, volumes were down 88% for those crossing via land, and 98% through airports last week, compared to the same time a year ago, the agency said.


POLL: Truck Driver Pro Gets Major Image Boost During COVID

Truck drivers have arguably never been so admired by the public as they are now according to a new poll by Abacus Data for Trucking HR Canada.

In a webinar hosted by Abacus on Wednesday, the market research firm reported that essential role truck drivers have played in keeping the economy afloat during the COVID-19 crisis has helped boost the image of the industry.

The survey of 1,800 people showed that 54% Canadians have a positive impression of trucking companies, whereas only 27% have a favorable view of the airline industry. Only 5% had a negative view.

The overall impression of the sector has risen 10-15% over the past few months, the poll found. Eighty-five percent said Canada needs a strong trucking sector for the economy to be healthy.

“I think there’s a real appreciation for the way the sector has delivered for Canadians in many ways,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.

“And, I think a lot of the negatives that are often associated with truck driving – accidents, safety questions – were really not there. So, you have got this moment where people could actually empathize (with) you.”

The poll also revealed that 72% of those surveyed now consider trucking as an essential sector. Only 16% considered the airline as essential.

Read more about the Abacus poll here.


FMCSA Issues COVID-19 Related Notice on Off-site Compliance Reviews & Safety Ratings

FMCSA issued a another guidance document related to the COVID-19 emergency yesterday. Below is a brief summary of the notice. Attached is our updated compendium that details all relevant notices to date and their expiration dates. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns

 On May 19, 2020, FMCSA issued a notice to the public explaining that, during the COVID-19 emergency, it will issue safety ratings to motor carriers following compliance reviews (CR) conducted entirely off-site (i.e., remotely).  Because of “travel restrictions, social distancing, and other advisories associated with the…emergency,” FMCSA explained it will continue to conduct CRs of motor carriers and assign safety ratings even if those CRs do not include an “on-site” component.  FMCSA said it will leverage technology, including its web-based portal, to accept and remotely review compliance records from motor carriers undergoing a CR.  FMCSA issued this notice since its CR and safety rating-related rules in 49 CFR part 385 define a CR, in part, as an “on-site” review.


BC’s Essential Freight & Passenger Services Hard Hit by COVID-19 Economy

The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) says that results of a second COVID-19 Impact Survey of its members, focusing on operational challenges for April 2020, indicate that trucking and motor coach companies and the suppliers who support them in providing critical services to British Columbians are severely strained by the ongoing effect of the pandemic, including significant revenue losses and staff layoffs that continue to increase.

Results of the second COVID-19 Impact Survey indicate that:

  • Trucking companies have, on average, experienced a 29.8 percent drop in revenue, a further drop of 9.3 percent following our first survey in March;
  • Motor coach companies continue to be hardest hit by COVID-19 measures, with an average 96.1 percent drop in revenue, a further 4 percent reduction from March; and
  • Industry suppliers, BCTA’s associate members, realized a 35.9 percent drop in revenue, a further 7.7 percent drop compared to March.

Full story here.


THRC Requesting carriers take Part in to Updated COVID-19 Survey

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, TruckingHR Canada is gathering information to better understand how COVID-19 is affecting employment within the trucking and logistics sector, and how trucking and logistics companies are adapting their HR practices to manage COVID-19-related challenges. In particular, this survey seeks to answer the following questions:

  • How is COVID-19 affecting trucking and logistics employment, including that of truck drivers and other occupations (e.g. dispatchers)?
  • What HR measures have been implemented as a result of COVID-19?
  • How will COVID-19 impact key HR activities over the next three to six months?

This survey should take 15-20 minutes to complete. As this is a time-sensitive topic, we ask that your company respond by 4:00pm on Friday, May 29, 2020.

Click here to take part.


Can ELDs Help Track COVID-19 Cases?

Knowing where drivers have been, when they were there, and who they contacted can help fleets prevent the spread of COVID-19 internally, and potentially warn other fleets and customers of exposure to an infected driver, according to Jim park of Truckinginfo.com

One of the key elements in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus is the ability to track suspected carriers and trace their contacts during the contagion period. Since most people contact dozens or hundreds of others over the course of a few days or a week, it’s nearly impossible to get a complete picture of that group. That problem is compounded by the delay between the time a person becomes infected and when the symptoms become obvious. It’s believed that interval can be a week to 10 days, so imagine all the contact that may have taken place over that period.

“The key is early contact tracing,” says Ward Warkentin, CEO of Fleetmetrica. “ELDs can provide that breadcrumb trail; where a driver has been, who they have come into contact with and when.”

But it shouldn’t end there Warkington says. Fleetmetrica has developed a VirusTracker app for drivers that identifies overlaps in location stop points and time periods where and when drivers within the group, or the company in this case, were in the vicinity of each other.

“I think it is important that fleet owners consider any and all solutions to help them strengthen their business continuity management practices, and that includes whatever tools are available to identify and prevent the risk of the virus affect the business,” he says. “Our solution emphasizes early contact tracing which enables the company to warn drivers who may be at risk whenever a driver within the fleet becomes symptomatic. This gives drivers a heads-up prior to the symptomatic driver getting tested, which reduces the time for the virus to spread to other drivers or customers.”

Within the app, drivers can confidentially track how they are feeling, noting any possible symptoms that might appear, such as a cough, fever, fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, and loss of smell or taste. They can also note other conditions not usually associated with COVID-19 for comparison and possible use in clearing them of any contact with the virus, such as a runny nose and or a sore throat. The app is obviously not intended as a diagnostic tool, but more as a event logger, so if medical attention is required, health care professionals can see when the first symptoms began to appear and when the driver began to suspect he or she may have contracted the virus.

Read full article here.


MB Draft Plan for Restoring Services

has unveiled a preliminary draft plan for the second phase of the provincial Restoring Safe Services Plan.  The draft plan for restoring services in Phase Two builds on measures previously announced in the Restoring Safe Services Plan. Much of the focus on this plan centres on child care and education; however, members are encouraged to take some time to review this draft plan.


ONroute extends free-coffee for Truckers

ONroute is extending its offer of free coffee every Wednesday until Canada Day on July 1, the company has announced. A free medium coffee/beverage will be available to all truck drivers at all 23 ONroute locations.

It is being offered under ONroute’s “Keep ON Trucking” initiative launched in April to help truckers during Covid-19.

ONroute is also providing 24/7 access to fuel, washrooms, truck parking, and food and beverages via take-out, drive-through, and grab-and-go options.

The company said it has implemented a number of precautionary measures to ensure that ONroute remains a clean and safe place for travelers to stop along their journey.


Kamloops Food Truck Service Still Going Strong

Kamloops’ Cookshack Cravings food truck will be serving long-haul drivers as long as they need it — maybe even into the fall.

It was the first food truck in B.C. to take part in the Meals for Truckers project, launched by the B.C. Trucking Association April 4.

Since then, the project has spread across the province. 

There is no end to the project in sight and the donations continue pouring in.


Ford Hints at Goundbreaking Research to Fight COVID-19

The Ontario government has announced that it’s moving forward with “groundbreaking” research projects to fight COVID-19, including clinical trials investigating vaccines and treatments.

Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano made the announcement at a news conference Thursday, saying that the government is funding its “first phase” of research to “test, detect and treat” the disease.

Full story here.


Truck tonnage plummets most in 26 years

U.S. for-hire truck tonnage plummeted 12.2% in April, according to the latest data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

“April’s monthly decline was the largest in 26 years when there was a labor strike in
April 1994,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “Considering that April factory output and retail sales plummeted, the large drop in truck freight is not surprising. However, not all fleets saw large declines in April. Those hauling food for grocery stores and those involved in the on-line retail supply chain outperformed most other fleets. Some fleets witnessed very large declines in freight last month.”

March’s gain was revised down to 0.4% from the originally reported 1.2% increase. 

“These historic declines show just how much trucking was impacted by our national response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Costello said. “As the nation starts taking small steps toward reopening, we should see some modest improvements in the freight market, but the size of April’s decline gives us an idea of how long the road back may be.”

Truck tonnage was down 11.3% year-over-year, marking the largest y-o-y decline since early 2009. Year-to-date tonnage is down 1.3%.

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