The ripple effect of Ottawa’s new vaccine mandate for truckers may not be felt for a while.
That’s according to BC Divisional Vice-President of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Andrew Wynn-Williams.
A Freedom Rally is being held across the country with a stop on Parliament Hill set for Saturday.
However, Wynn-Williams told Vista Radio issues to the supply chain started well before the vaccine mandate.
“We have container shortages, which are driven by the long-term issues of COVID, we have pileups at the port because of issues due to flooding. We have just a whole bunch of different things that have affected supply chains.”
However, Wynn-Williams does not believe the new rules from Ottawa will lead to more panic buying at grocery stores.
“I don’t think this will trigger more panic buying. Although it’s another straw on the camel’s back and in my opinion, it is only a straw because it is garnering a lot of attention because it is a significant issue but it’s way less (of an issue) when compared to the floods.”
“It’s not the vaccine mandate per se (that has us worried) it’s the reaction to it. This truckers rally as it yet to be seen how significant of an impact it will have.”
The Manufacturers and Exporters group calls the North American supply chain very efficient but lacking in resiliency.
“It kind of puts you into a difficult spot because you can’t say we are very supportive of vaccines. But, we believe everyone should get vaccinated, however, the challenge this presents is a reaction to the mandate instead of just the mandate itself,” added Wynn-Williams.
If that weren’t enough, the issue of delays and price increases is rearing its ugly head again.
“These are mainly driven by significant backlogs at ports in the western United States and the resulting shortage of containers. I have spoken with some of our partners who have facilities in Calgary and they need to get supplies into China.”
“Some of them are finding it cheaper and faster to actually ship around the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canel into Rotterdam and then from Rotterdam to Montreal and then putting things on a train back to Calgary.”
“You know the Prince Rupert port is a pretty good option for containers but it’s mostly rail. So, you have to rail from there and into Alberta and then back into BC by truck to get that material into a truck.”
However, Wynn-Williams stated the cost of a rail container has drastically increased, going from two to three thousand dollars to as much as $30,000.