Local truck drivers continue to show up to keep the supply chain going, despite a number of challenges that the industry is continuing to face.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trucking industry has been considered essential. The industry has been instrumental in keeping food and other goods on grocery store shelves over the last two years.
Korinne Thompson, the owner of a local cross-border trucking company, said that it hasn’t been an easy couple of years for her drivers.
“Truckers have had to really adjust with the COVID-19 restrictions,” she said. “It was a challenge when restaurants and bathroom facilities had to close. Our drivers couldn’t get food on the road because the only thing allowed to be open were drive-thrus and their trucks don’t fit through. It can still be hard to find places to stop on the road now.”
Thompson said that the job has always had its downsides, but those that choose to do the work do it because they love it.
“The truck driver position is a very isolated position to begin with,” Thompson said. “They put in so many hours and they make sacrifices, like being away from their family, to get the job done. They spend a lot of time in the truck by themselves, but they do it because they really love the job. They like that they get to travel around the country, see things that many don’t get to see, meet people from all walks of life and make friends wherever they go. The restrictions have taken away a lot of the good and some drivers are losing that passion.”
The recent mandate protests have also had a harmful effect on the industry and the members within it.
Truck drivers are facing hour-long delays at the Canadian/American land borders, with some regular three- or four-hour trips taking an entire day.
“These drivers are waiting on the side of the road for six, seven, eight hours at a time in their trucks without access to food or washroom facilities,” she said. “It has been another really tough thing to navigate.”
Thompson noted that in addition to these different struggles, in the height of COVID, truck drivers could not visit their doctors or dentists because they had been out of the country within the 14-day limit.
At the end of the day, she just hopes that people can take a moment to recognize the people that are keeping the world going every day.
“Truck drivers, regardless of politics, need to be appreciated for making sure everything gets to you,” Thompson said. “No matter what, everything travels by truck. Whether it was built or grown down the road or across the world, before it gets to you it gets on a truck.”