A key entryway into Canada from the U.S. remains closed as Canadian truckers continue to disrupt travel as a way of protesting the country’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates.
Travelers seeking to enter Canada are still experiencing major delays as “Freedom Convoy” protesters block the Ambassador Bridge, a border crossing station that connects Detroit with the Canadian city of Windsor, Ontario. The protesters are demonstrating against rules that require truck drivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing in order to enter Canada.
Traffic coming from Windsor on the bridge is open, but traffic coming from Detroit remains closed. Officials are asking commercial vehicles to head about 70 miles north to the border crossing at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan. However, increased traffic has led to more than three hours of delays on I-94.
The Ambassador Bridge is vital to the auto industry and for trade.
According to the bridge company, nearly 8,000 trucks carry more than $323 million in goods across the bridge every single day. About $100 million of that is auto parts, engines and vehicles.
“It’s a perfect combination when all the cogs are working, but boy, when you get an interruption like that, it can be incredibly disruptive,” said Mike Wall, an auto analyst at IHS Markit.
Wall says the longer the closure goes, the more stress that is added to an already strained supply chain.
“If this were to kind of continue on for multiple days, you’re going to start to see the impact reverberate through the supply chain,” he said.
No one has been able to cross. The busiest international land border in the nation now sits silent and empty, closed for business in Detroit.
Drivers like Harry Minhes spent the night in their truck, stuck in the U.S. with no food, patiently waiting for the bridge to reopen. He lives just 15 minutes away in Windsor.
“We are Canadians. We’re supposed to go home,” Minhes said. “That is also our right, to go home.”
Many drivers like Minhes say the Freedom Convoy protests aimed at the Canadian Prime Minister are only hurting them.
“We are the ones who are suffering,” he said. “Mr. Trudeau is sitting down at his home having his food and coffee and everything, we are the ones stuck on the road right? This is terrible.”
The bridge company is hoping there will be some resolution, but until then, there is no timeline for when the bridge may reopen to traffic on the U.S. side.
This story was originally published by Peter Maxwell on Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit.