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Saskachewan Seeing Steady Cross-Border Trade In Spite Of Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global economy pretty hard, resulting in a rough time for a lot of industries and companies. While the trucking industry saw a bit of a boost thanks to an e-commerce spike, it hasn’t exactly been easy for them, with companies like Titan Transline having to make adjustments to keep up with the new ‘normal’.

Saskatoon’s Siemens Transportation had similar trouble but noted how it wasn’t as bad as they expected, with border crossings in the province remained strong.

Siemens Transportation President Doug Siemens notes how bad of a reaction about restrictions would’ve gotten in the past, but the reality isn’t as bad as others thought.

Saskachewan has 12 land-based border crossing sites that are handled by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), connecting the province to and from Montana and North Dakota.

Saskachewan CBSA Corporate Chief Scott Kienlen noted how the volume of traffic going through the border has gone down, with the volume of freight going down by 88% in 2021 compared to 2020. That being said, carriers that haul commercial goods have remained fairly stable in spite of recent conditions.

March 21 will mark the first anniversary of the Canadian government closing down non-essential travel via land-based border openings, which was done as part of the government’s attempts to control COVID-19’s spread.

The feds classified all commercial transport drivers like truckers as essential workers, which meant that they are exempt from restrictions and quarantine measures.

Siemens says that there isn’t an issue with crossing borders, not anything that hurts Saskatchewan’s economy hard, anyway. They note that the recent issues aren’t really new, but that the pandemic really highlighted them and helped make companies like them notice it.

They did note that the sudden upsurge in the necessity of mobile travel applications like ArriveCAN has been a bit of a headache.

Data from the CBSA supported Siemens’ assessment on trucking consistency amidst the pandemic. According to the CBSA’s numbers, 110,088 truckers went into Canada from Feb. 8-14, which is a 343 increase from the same time in 2020, and a notable increase of 6,385 from 2019’s numbers.