As policy makers and industry stakeholders work together in stopping the spread of COVID-19 across North America, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations spoke in one voice today in calling on governments on both sides of the border to consider contingencies in the event of government office shutdowns while ensuring cross-border traffic continues to function as efficiently as possible.
“The business community and governments are faced with the challenge of having to react rapidly to the constantly changing developments brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak,” the two groups wrote in a joint statement to Canadian and U.S. officials. “Trucks move all of the essential products Canadians and Americans depend upon, including all medical and sanitation supplies to combat the spread of this virus, emergency relief and food products, as well as the vital operating components and raw materials used to manufacture and process these essential products, the fuels that move them, and a multitude of inter-related critical items that support the functionality of the supply chain.”
Looming on the horizon is the potential reality of government office shutdowns due to the virus and a possibility that the northern border may function under different operating parameters. CTA and ATA are requesting that governments on both sides of the border work with the trucking industry to implement contingencies for qualifying government issued licenses or documentation that may expire during the outbreak.
These documents include truck drivers’ licenses, commercial vehicle plates, oversize permits, hazmat or dangerous goods certificates, Free and Secure Trade (FAST) cards for cross-border travel, provincial driver abstracts, and other required documentation necessary for goods to move by truck both domestically and internationally. CTA and ATA also request that both CBP and CBSA work with the trucking industry in partnership to develop any potential emergency operating measures for the northern border during this crisis.
“These government-issued documents may become difficult, if not impossible, to renew if more drastic measures to stop the spread of the virus are implemented. As such, trucking operations need clear guidance and support from governments on both sides of the border that operating on such expired documentation due to government shutdowns will not negatively impact their operations. Developing a contingency plan – such as temporary extensions – would help ensure that truck drivers and their companies are able to continue to deliver these critical goods to market, keep our economy running, while – most importantly – keeping the public safe with the essential products they need.”