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Ottawa truckers protests can have serious impact on the supply chain

The Ottawa trucker protests are impacting trade between the U.S. and Canada, adding to the already existing supply chain issues

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Trucks are backed up heading to and from Canada on the Ambassador Bridge.

Trucks are backed up heading to and from Canada on the Ambassador Bridge, due to protests on the Windsor side, in Detroit on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. Canada’s public safety minister said Monday that U.S. officials should stay out of his country’s domestic affairs, joining other Canadian leaders in pushing back against prominent Republicans who offered support for the protests of COVID-19 restrictions that have besieged downtown Ottawa for more than a week.

Daniel Mears, Detroit News via Associated Press

One of the busiest border crossings between Canada and the United States is still partially blocked as of Wednesday as protests against COVID-19 mandates spread beyond Ottawa, the capital of Canada, per NBC News.

What’s happening: According to Politico, the Ambassador Bridge — which links Detroit in the U.S., and Windsor, a city in Ontario, Canada — was partially closed, with trucks told to use another crossing 60 miles away.

  • This bridge accounts for 27% of annual trade between Canada and the U.S.

Canadian officials said: Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Tuesday that the blockages have prevented traffic from coming into Canada.

  • “The Ambassador Bridge is one of the most important border crossings in the world and it carries with it a significant portion of all trade between Canada and the United States,” Mendicino said, per the report. “We will continue to work very closely to see that this blockade is disengaged so we can keep the supply chains moving across the Ambassador Bridge.”

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that such roadblocks will impact the economy and supply chains, per CBS News.

  • “I’ve already heard from automakers and food grocers. This is really a serious cause for concern,” he said.

Why it matters: Jeff Schuster, president of the LMC Automotive consulting firm in Troy, Michigan, said: “Everything is so ‘just-in-time’ these days,” he said. “We’re still dealing with parts shortages in general and supply chain issues. This is just another wrench in the industry that we’re dealing with right now.”

Flashback: The truck driver/protesters and their supporters, who call themselves the “Freedom Convoy,” recently won the support of Republican politicians like former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, as I previously wrote for Deseret News.

The bigger picture: The demonstrations began in opposition to vaccination mandates for truckers crossing the U.S.-Canada border but now the focus has shifted to COVID-19 measures imposed across the country, as Ottawa declares a state of emergency.