COVID-19 Daily Bulletin: May 1

Ontario 511 App Goes Live, Provides Important Info for Drivers and Carriers

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) today unveiled its new Ontario 511 app designed help truck drivers and carrier operations staff locate opportune on-highway service facilities, among other features.

Driven by a rapid reduction of truck parking, washroom and access to food service facilities for truck drivers in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the app provides new, detailed information on parking and rest areas available to drivers as well as locations that have come online to support the supply chain by providing food and other services to drivers.

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“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis Minister Mulroney has been a great leader and provided ongoing assistance to the Ontario trucking industry,” said Stephen Laskowski, president, Ontario Trucking Association. “The introduction of the app features assists drivers in finding locations where they can be served meals, use washrooms and have a safe place to rest is another testament of Minister Mulroney’s commitment to the professional truck driver community. Drivers and carriers now have, at their fingertips, an abundance of information on accessible food service providers as well as newly-developed rest areas for drivers – many of which have been created at the direction of Minster Mulroney. The creation of this app is much appreciated and comes at a perfect time for the hard-working drivers out on the roads helping to steer Ontarians out of this crisis.”

In addition, information is also available for drivers that includes access to MTO weather cameras located across the province, which provide real-time video of road conditions on provincially controlled highways. A number of trip planning options are also included in the app.

The app, available free of charge for Apple App Store or Android Google Play devices, also provides feedback options that will allow for continuous improvement of the App to suit the needs of truck drivers operating in Ontario.

Please see official news release below:

EN: Government Launches New Tool to Support Trucking Industry FR: Le gouvernement lance un nouvel outil pour soutenir l’industrie du transport routier


Detroit Field Office Issues Best Practices Guide

The Detroit Field Office has released a Best Practices Guide which is intended as an informational resource for both the ports of entry within the Detroit Field Office and the trade community during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It provides information for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Trade community to consider in an effort to increase safety, facilitate trade and promote continued communication between both parties.

While this document is intended to provide guidance on how the Ports and the Trade community should safely interact and communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not intended to be an all-encompassing guide as to how each port or trade partner resolves every issue or concern. Resolution of any specific issue or concern will need to take into account the port’s size, location, commodity type, Participant Government Agency (PGA) requirement(s), inspection capabilities, staffing, etc.

If you have any questions for the Port of Port Huron, please see the contact information below and in the attached notice:

Port of Port Huron:

Click here for Details;


Washrooms to Re-Open for Truck Drivers at Peace Bridge Duty-Free

The Peace Bridge Authority announced today washrooms will be re-opened on May 1, 2020 at the Peace Bridge Duty-Free store to accommodate all U.S. bound truck drivers. Please see the attached notice for more information:  20200430_140006_public


FMCSA Updates distribution list for protective masks

FMCSA’s efforts toward getting personal protective equipment to truck drivers are underway.

On Wednesday, April 29, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published an updated list of distribution locations where truckers can receive free protective masks. FMCSA said the distribution list will continue to be updated. In all, the agency said it plans to give out about 1 million masks.

“FMCSA has been working with states, industry stakeholders and motor carriers to distribute 1 million protective face masks for truckers, which were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” the agency wrote.

The list of distribution locations for April 29 and April 30 includes stops in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, New York and Texas.

In addition to the masks, FMCSA acting Administrator Jim Mullen said on April 28 that the agency was working on a plan to administer COVID-19 testing to truck drivers.

“We are looking at high-volume rest areas to see how we can accomplish that, Mullen said. “(We realize) they are nomadic and could be carriers. We hope to roll that out in the near future.”

Mullen said FMCSA, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security are working toward getting gloves and sanitation products to truck drivers.Info Notice-DFO-20-005-DFO Best Practices_public

The progress toward getting truckers tests and personal protective equipment follows OOIDA’s efforts for the past month.


Trucks deliver for charity amid Covid-19

ShipNorthAmerica signed up to coordinate charitable trucking shipments through the Trucks for Change (T4C) network. Last it matched 10 loads to donated and discounted truck services, supporting organizations such as Food Banks Canada and Feed Ontario.

Trucks for Change offers a coordinated hub for charitable giving in the trucking industry, helping to ensure that donated goods are distributed at a discount or free. For its part, ShipNorthAmerica offers in-kind load management services, matching requests that charities post through the MoveMatrix system.

The latest loads of food have been stored in warehouse space offered by AMJ Campbell and Mackie Group. From there, many of the April shipments have been destined for the Moisson Montreal food bank. One LTL load made five drops in King City, Ont. Another was off to London.

Participating carriers have included Trucks for Change members such as Kriska Group, Polaris Transportation, Mackie Moving, Erb Transport, Arnold Bros., Manitoulin Transport, and Gardewine. Martin Roy Transport also supported a shipment.

In the last decade Trucks for Change has helped to coordinate 1,300 shipments of charitable freight, representing 22 million lb. in donations.

Carriers interested in providing discounted services to charities in Canada are encouraged to contact Trucks for Change executive director Betsy Sharples at betsy@trucksforchange.org.

Full Story From Truck News


Tandet erects billboard shoutout to truckers along busy trucking corridor at the end of airport runway @rtilleyTANDET #ThankATrucker pic.twitter.com/FJv3mW2nvg

— OTA (@OnTruck) May 1, 2020


Public Safety PPE Survey Extended

In an effort to better understand the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs of critical infrastructure partners, Public Safety Canada is launching a second survey (FR) to capture more in-depth data with respect to supply and demand regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including sanitization products and COVID-19 testing kits. More specifically, the new PPE and Sanitization Products Inventory Survey seeks to capture organization contact information and sub-sector information, and to better articulate supply chain challenges and projected PPE shortages.

PSC is asking the trucking industry to take part.

Please ensure that you have reviewed guidance regarding the use of PPE in your jurisdiction prior to completing the survey, as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) guidance here. (FR)

Participation in the survey is voluntary and the data obtained from the survey will be stored on Government of Canada infrastructure. In order to produce timely results from this survey, it will be open until May 4, 2020 at 8:00 am


List of Toronto Sanitation Facilities for Drivers

Posted Thursday April 30, 2020, in Labour/HR/driver shortage

The City of Toronto has made available a list of city-run community and park facilities that are providing washrooms and sanitation stations to drivers across the city. See here. PF&R Location Specific_public

Meanwhile, the Ontario Trucking Association recently raised several issues at the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force Roundtable with Goods & Logistics in Toronto, including:

The city said it is reviewing increased parking demands for delivery vehicles and communications on how to interact with delivery drivers. Officials requested that the City’s strategic communications promote thanking delivery personnel through the door, instead of opening it.


Vaughan Hotel Offers Driver Discount Rates-Parking

The Aloft Vaughan Mills just off of Hwy 400 in Vaughan if offering special rates to truck drivers during this time. It’s own parking lot fits 12 tractor trailers, and can also arrange parking at Vaughan Mills Mall across the street.


US Economy Shrinks 4.8% due to COVID; ATA Economist Surprised at Extent of Damage

The U.S. economy contracted by 4.8% on an annualized rate in the first quarter, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, which released the gross domestic product figures April 29.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, “The decline in the first-quarter GDP was, in part, due to the response to the spread of COVID-19 as governments issued stay-at-home orders in March. This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations and consumers canceled, restricted or redirected their spending.”

The drop is the sharpest since the GDP plunged 8.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008 during the peak of the financial crisis.

American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello told Transport Topics that, after looking at the data, he was surprised by the damage done to the U.S. economy in just March, when thousands of businesses began shutting their doors.

“It was even worse than I thought,” Costello said. “I was expecting it to be 3% or 3.5%. The fact that it was almost 5% makes me very worried about the second quarter. It does give me pause about the second quarter and what’s going to happen there.”

Costello said he has revised his second-quarter GDP projections downward from a 20% to 25% drop to as much as 30% on an annualized basis.

“The second quarter could be worse than we originally thought,” he said. “Essentially, the economy was shut down for two weeks in the first quarter, and this is the second-worst reading this century. There was only one quarter in the 2008 financial crisis that was worse.”

In just six weeks, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. economy has ended a decade of almost uninterrupted economic expansion, unemployment that was at a 50-year low, and a Dow Jones Industrial Average that nearly reached 30,000.

Spending on durable goods such as cars, appliances and furniture tumbled at a 16.1% pace, but spending on nondurable goods such as food, paper towels and toilet paper rose by 6.9%.

Full story here.

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