Canadian manufacturers and exporters say the vaccine mandate for truckers is “another straw on the camel’s back”.

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The ripple effect of Ottawa’s new vaccination order for truckers may not be felt for a while.

So says Andrew Wynn-Williams, BC Divisional Vice-President of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

A Freedom Rally is taking place across the country with a stop on Parliament Hill scheduled for Saturday.

However, Wynn-Williams said Vista radio Supply chain problems began long before the vaccination mandate.

“We have container shortages caused by the long-term problems of COVID, we have port congestion due to flooding problems. We just have a whole bunch of different things that have impacted supply chains.”

However, Wynn-Williams doesn’t think Ottawa’s new rules will lead to more panic buying at grocery stores.

“I don’t think this will trigger any more panic buying. Although it’s another straw on the camel’s back, in my opinion it’s just a straw because it draws a lot of attention because it’s a significant problem, but compared to the flooding it’s a lot less (a problem) .

“It is not the vaccination mandate per se (which worries us) but the response to it. It remains to be seen what impact this trucker rally will have.”

The group of manufacturers and exporters describes the North American supply chain as very efficient but not very resilient.

“It kind of puts you in a difficult position because you can’t say we’re very supportive of vaccines. But we believe everyone should get vaccinated, but the challenge this poses is a response to the mandate and not just the mandate itself,” Wynn-Williams added.

If that wasn’t enough, the issue of delays and price hikes rears its ugly head again.

“These are mainly due to significant backlogs at ports in the western United States and the resulting shortage of containers. I spoke to some of our partners who have facilities in Calgary and need shipments to China.”

“Some of them find it cheaper and quicker to circumnavigate the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal to Rotterdam and then from Rotterdam to Montreal and then take the train back to Calgary.”

“You know the Port of Prince Rupert is a pretty good option for containers, but it’s mostly rail. So from there you have to take the train to Alberta and then the truck back to BC to load the material into a truck.”

However, Wynn-Williams stated that the cost of a rail container has increased dramatically, going from two to three thousand dollars to as much as $30,000.

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