Just about every staple seemed in short supply from eggs to frozen vegetables at a No Frills supermarket in Toronto on the night of March 18. An abundance of paper towels proved to be one of the lone exceptions.
“We’re waiting on a truck from Oshawa,” a cashier said to an older woman who wanted to buy frozen spinach. Similar scenes are playing out at stores across Canada and the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies.
As thousands of trucks scramble to deliver loads across Canada, freight volumes are pushing upward. The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Canada (OTVI.CAN) reached a new high on the FreightWaves SONAR platform on Tuesday, punching above the level last seen on November 27 in the aftermath of a strike by Canadian National Railway workers.
How long that lasts remains a question. A barrage of measures by Canada’s federal government, including an C$82 billion support package, may help ensure that demand for consumer staples remains solid.
But the impact of the broader economic fallout likely will weigh on freight regardless of how open the U.S.-Canada border remains for trucks. Case in point – General Motors’ suspension of operations at its North American plants.
Did you know?
Ninety-one percent of carriers surveyed by FreightWaves have directed drivers to maintain personal or social distance whenever possible to limit exposure to coronavirus.
“Our goal is to keep trucks on the road and commerce flowing.”
– BMO Harris Bank on its efforts to assist the trucking industry from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
In other news:
U.S. auto manufacturers look at producing medical equipment
U.S. auto manufacturers are studying if they can begin producing medical equipment to support the growing need for that equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Supply Chain Dive)
Convoy helping divert unneeded shipments to food banks
Digital freight network Convoy has partnered with Feeding America so truckers can divert rejected food and beverage shipments to food banks. (Businesswire)
Map shows impact of EU border lockdown on truck crossings
Digital freight platform Sixfold is helping shippers and carriers navigate the EU border lockdowns with a map showing truck crossing times. (Sixfold)
OmniTRAX names new CFO
Short line rail operator OmniTRAX, has appointed Robert Walker as its new chief financial officer. (Railway Age)
As freight volumes grow in Canada, the largest load board in the country, Loadlink, announced that it will help businesses find trucks for shipments of vital goods free of charge.
Hammer down, everyone!