Windsor

Border crossing numbers a sign that manufacturing has returned, says expert

Border crossing numbers released by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) indicate that overall travel continues to remain affected by border restrictions enforced as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In late April, border crossing numbers showed a 33% decline in commercial traffic

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-U.S. border crossing in Windsor, Ont. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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. 

Bill Anderson, director of the University of Windsor's Cross Border Institute, says the latest border crossing numbers released by the CBSA indicate that manufacturing is on the rise. (Sameer Chhabra/CBC)

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

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now