Canada’s 16-month shutdown, which the federal government enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic, is slowly ending, the country reopening its borders for nonessential travel from vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents.
The restrictions exempted trade and logistics, letting firms like Titan Transline and their truckers continue moving goods freely between Canada and the US. That being said, experts are still saying that the reopening of the US-Canada border is still noteworthy for freight, beyond the expected increase in congestion and wait times that come with the return of passenger traffic.
It’s expected to drive freight demand growth across Canada.
Peter Stefanovich, a managing partner at Left Lane Associates, a transportation mergers and acquisitions advisory firm based in Toronto, stated that the opening of the US-Canada border will do a lot for the transportation and logistics industries.
Opening the border, Stefanovich and other experts state, will lead to an influx of visitors from the US. Data from Statistics Canada backs this up; as they reported that 25mn US residents, alongside 15mn tourists, visited Canada in 2019 prior to the pandemic.
Stefanovich notes that the influx of visitors might not happen immediately; no one really knows how fast they’ll come back. But when visitors do come back, they explain, restaurants, hotels, and events will see patronage increase, which will lead to those facilities needing freight, which, in turn, will drive up demand for logistics, something that firms like Titan Transline are looking forward to.
Canada will welcome visitors from other countries come September, which will only further add to the momentum.
The Canadian hospitality sector will likely greatly benefit from this, as they’ve been struggling due to the absence of foreign visitors. The challenge from this might be securing capacity in big markets like Toronto, especially for specialized freight, like temperature-controlled freight.
As of August 2021, the US is keeping its land borders closed for nonessential travel. Once they do reopen, it’s expected that the country’s border communities will see the return of Canadians and their love for cross-border shopping, which is a huge part of these communities’ economy and a major driver of cross-border travel between the two countries.