US, Canada Appear Set To Extend Border Closure To Aug. 21

July 14, 2020

The U.S. and Canada appear poised to extend the closure of their shared border for nonessential travel until Aug. 21. It will give truckers an additional 30 days of crossing the border mostly free of passenger traffic.

CTV News reported on Tuesday that officials from both countries agreed to the extension. It has not been announced yet. 

The U.S. and Canada closed the border to nonessential travel in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure exempts trucks moving freight. 

The border closure itself hasn't directly impacted cross-border freight. But the shutdowns of large parts of the economies in both countries have impacted cross-border truck traffic and freight volumes.

In an encouraging sign for cross-border freight, U.S.-to-Canada truck traffic reached its pre-COVID-19 pandemic seasonal norm during the first week of July. It reflects a broader recovery in both directions, U.S. and Canadian government data show. 

But rolling back lockdowns in parts of the U.S. could hurt cross-border freight volumes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump discussed the border during a call on Monday. Trudeau reportedly expressed concern about the surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States.

A recent poll by Nanos Research found that more than 80% of Canadians support keeping the border closed.

Canadians' support of the closure came as new COVID-19 cases steadily decline in the country. 

Nevertheless, 29 members of Congress recently wrote a letter calling for the Canadian government to consider reopening the border.

While goods largely continue to move freely between the countries under the ban via truck, the border closure has disrupted some parts of the supply chain. Some Canadian businesses, especially those near the U.S., have faced problems bringing small shipments across the border themselves.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Nate Tabak.

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