Border crossing numbers a sign that manufacturing has returned, says expert
In late April, border crossing numbers showed a 33% decline in commercial traffic
Border crossing numbers released by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) indicate that overall travel continues to remain heavily affected by border restrictions enforced as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But while approximately 91 per cent fewer people crossed Canada's land borders and approximately 95 per cent fewer people entered Canada by air during the week of June 29 to July 5 — compared to about the same time last year — there's almost no difference in commercial truck traffic.
According to the CBSA's latest numbers, approximately 87,550 truckers crossed the border between June 29 and July 5 — about the same as last year.
Bill Anderson, director of the University of Windsor's cross-border institute, says truck drivers numbers indicate that "the sort of large-scale manufacturing that has supply chains that stretch across the Canada-U.S. border is back up and running."
CBSA numbers from late April showed a 33 per cent decline in commercial truck traffic across Canada's border.
"And the reason the numbers were much lower if you looked around the beginning of April was the fact that most of the automotive plants have been shut down, and that's the biggest single industry that drives the movement of trucks certainly through the crossing here at Windsor," Anderson said.
Major U.S. automakers began reopening their North American factories in May, after instituting wide scale shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Canada-U.S. border is currently set to remain closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21.
According to numbers released by the Bridge and Tunnel Operators Association — which has yet to release figures for May and June — 36,729 passengers cars crossed through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in April 2020, compared to 347,738 passenger cars in 2019.
As for the Ambassador Bridge, 52,060 passenger cars crossed through the Ambassador Bridge in April 2020, compared to 572,289 cars in 2019.
Though confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in the U.S., Anderson said it's difficult to predict how the economy will be affected.
"There's a lot of discussion about what's going to happen in terms of the level of economic demand over the next six months to a year," he said. "I don't have a prediction on that."
With files from Sameer Chhabra