“These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
The restrictions, which apply to all foreign essential workers, had been expected since U.S. officials announced them in October. They follow a similar rule that took effect at the Canadian border last Saturday.
The border COVID-19 vaccine mandates are coming into force despite pushback from the truck industry. The impact will be felt most acutely for the U.S.-Canada freight market, where around 160,000 truckers regularly cross the border — 75% of whom are Canadian.
Already capacity has tightened significantly, with huge price increases in the spot market. It adds to existing pressures, including COVID-19 itself, which left many fleets operating below full strength.
“The supply chain is already fragile — so it puts all of us in a precarious situation,” Dan Einwechter, CEO of Canadian trucking and logistics firm Challenger Motor Freight, told FreightWaves.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance and American Trucking Alliance have projected that 10%-15% of drivers may leave cross-border trucking as a result of the mandates, and exacerbate existing supply chain issues. On Monday, several dozen Canadian truckers protested near the U.S. border in Emerson, Manitoba.