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Today’s Pickup: Will Canada deploy rapid COVID-19 test kits to US border?

The Spartan Cube can provide COVID-19 test results within an hour, the manufacturer says. (Image: Spartan Bioscience)

Good day,

The Spartan Cube, a portable Canadian COVID-19 test kit that promises results in under an hour, could have applications at border crossing and airports. 

Canada’s federal and provincial governments have ordered thousands of Spartan Bioscience’s COVID-19 test kits consisting of a coffee cup-sized device that analyzes proprietary cartridges and swabs. 

“The automated test can be operated by non-laboratory personnel in settings such as airports, border crossings, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, clinics and remote communities,” the Ottawa-based company said in a statement. 

But it remains to be seen if Canada’s federal government will deploy the kits to its land border crossings – largely dominated by commercial truck traffic. A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency said any additional COVID-19 measures could be based on the recommendation of the federal Public Health Agency. 

The agency did not immediately return FreightWaves’ request for comment. 

Did you know?

72,135 truck drivers entered Canada from the U.S. last week (April 6-12), according to the Canada Border Services Agency. That represents a 9.4% drop from a week earlier. Keep in mind that Good Friday and Easter likely contributed to some of that decline.


“March started off strong, and then, of course, we encountered the very unexpected chain of events that took place around the world.”

– P.A.M. Transportation Services CEO and President Dan Cushman on the company’s first-quarter financial results.   

In other news:

Panic buying may not translate into carrier profits

J.B. Hunt’s recent earnings report suggests that the surge in panic buying in response to COVID-19 may not help carriers’ profits despite higher volumes. (Business insider)

Trucker rescued as tractor dangles over river

Firefighters in Virginia pulled a truck driver to safety after a wind gust almost blew his tractor-trailer off a bridge, leaving it hanging over a river. (WHDH)

Illinois flatbed carrier moving to new HQ, hiring drivers 

The CEO of flatbed carrier G.T. Express says the company plans to invest up to $1 million in its new headquarters and is recruiting new drivers. (Daily Journal)

Cologne-Bonn airport plays a key freight role in COVID-19 crisis

Cargo carriers boosting presence at Cologne-Bonn Airport in Germany as COVID-19 fuels demand. (Airport Business)

Final thoughts:

The Spartan Cube could also have applications at trucking companies keen to test cross-border drivers. The manufacturer is prioritizing government orders but has been inundated with requests by Canadian companies, CEO Paul Lem told The Globe and Mail.  

For now, the company isn’t taking orders outside Canada, Lem said. 

Hammer down, everyone!


  1. Noble1

    You can read more details by googling this title : ‘Everyone wants them’: Rapid COVID-19 test kits made in Canada approved for use

    Production is exclusive to Canada for the time being .

    1. Noble1

      Quote from article on BNNBloomberg on the subject .

      Quote :
      Health Canada approves Spartan Bioscience’s portable COVID-19 test

      “Once you have a true confirmed case, there’s probably 10 times that number out in the community. It’s just the lack of testing is not identifying these people.”

      That’s exactly what I had said on this site when COVID-19 first broke out in Wuhan , multiply the infected number by 10 !

      On another note :

      Spartan Bioscience’s strategic partner is listed on the NYSE and an American subsidiary addressed and located in New York , but the “cube” is exclusive to Canada due to being manufactured in Canada , LOL ! I bet Gov. Andrew Cuomo would just love to know that . LOL ! Too funny .

      In my humble opinion ………

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]