✅ COVID-19 Trucking Update
✅ March 24, 2020. Trucking – The Forgotten Essential Service
Across Canada and the USA, the trucking industry has stepped up to ensure that our society’s most critical supplies continue to flow. Truckers are facing some unusual issues:
✅ Canada/USA Border
Thankfully, both governments quickly resolved the details of cargo movements across the closed border. This includes the 14 day isolation being waived for drivers who cross. The full Department of Homeland Security regulations are here: http://ontruck.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020-06217-CBP_public.pdf
Cross Border drivers should keep a copy of these regulations with them. Here’s a good overview fact sheet from the Alberta Government: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/trans-covid19-commercial-carriers-fact-sheet.pdf
It should also be noted that the FAST Program may not be available for drivers wanting to apply: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/fast-expres/menu-eng.html
✅ USA Hours of Service and ELDs
The US FMCSA has made an Emergency Declaration that provides relief for drivers who are transporting food and emergency supplies. Drivers will not have to record their hours, either on paper or with an ELD. For full details: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/expanded-emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002-relating-covid-19
✅ Rest stops
Many rest stops are closed, leaving drivers with no safe place to park, eat, or clean up. It’s recommended that line haul drivers carry hand sanitizer, food for several days, and, of course, toilet paper. During the initial ‘toilet paper feeding frenzy’ public and rest-area washrooms where stripped clean.
There have been fuel shortages, as the diesel supply chain readjusts. Most issues have been resolved, but truckers are advised to top up before entering remote/rural driving areas.
✅ Maintenance Supplies
With our just-in-time supply chain, some maintenance items are in short supply. This has mostly been resolved, but there are still some shortages.
✅ Vehicle Registrations and Drivers’ Licenses
Many vehicle/driver registration services are closed. Some provincial and state agencies have issued an extension on renewal dates. Check with your local Vehicle Services Registry.
✅ Shipper/Receiver Interactions
While driving is largely self-isolation, the interactions between the driver and the shipper/receiver staff require some enhanced hygiene practices. Physical shipping documents can transfer the virus, as well as any surface at the dock or drivers’ room. Drivers should hand sanitize and wipe down their phone, and any other surface in the truck that they contact.
✅ Workers’ Compensation Boards
Some jurisdictions have deferred Employer payments to help ease the financial burden, as well as covering a covid-19 infection as a WCB claim, if it can be shown that the employee got the virus during the course of work.
✅ Canada ELD Certification
There’s been no indication that the June 2021 ELD Mandate will change. We expect that the ELD System Certification process will be delayed, as the Certification companies are bogged down with getting their testing process finalized when their staff are working remotely. For more info on ELD Canada Status: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/road/electronic-logging-devices.html
As the pandemic continues, we predict that this current flurry of trucking activity will subside. The freight volumes for food and agricultural goods will revert to pre-pandemic requirements. Many commodities, such as fuel delivery to gas stations, have already slowed.
Online shopping will become entrenched in our habits, making home deliveries a profitable side venture for small vehicle fleets.
If you own a fleet, now is the time to ramp up planning and innovation. There will be opportunities everywhere for a well-managed, nimble business.