Protest by Canadian truckers not yet affecting Connecticut supply chain, official says

The Biden administration says it is closely monitoring protests by truckers over Canadian COVID-19 restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border that could lead to supply chain shortages, but so far the impact potential on Connecticut remains uncertain.

Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, said there was a supply chain issue caused by the protests, but he hasn’t heard of any specific impact on Connecticut.

The three main products transported across the border are fuel, food and auto parts, he said.

Protests began last month in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, over a vaccination mandate for truckers coming to Canada from the United States. Truckers blocked streets and staged protests, blocking traffic. The protests quickly spread to other Canadian cities, including vital border crossings like the Ambassador Bridge, which connects the Canadian city of Windsor to Detroit.

Ottawa Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency over the protests on Friday, saying he would use government resources to end the entrenched protests. Canadian courts have also blocked protesters’ access to millions of dollars in funds raised by donors through GiveSendGo, after a previous fundraiser on GoFundMe by the company was shut down.

CNN reported on Friday that the Biden administration is closely monitoring the border protests, citing a White House official.

The official said the White House is aware that many businesses and industries are feeling the impact of the protests, and said the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Council, Department of Transportation and National Economic Council are working with their Canadian counterparts to circumvent the protests.

Protests by truckers in Canada have also inspired protests by copycats elsewhere, including in New Zealand, where more than 100 arrests were made as they attempted to clear a camp set up by protesters.

Sculley said he had heard rumors of a planned protest in California that would spread across the country, but nothing in Connecticut. If Connecticut were involved, “we wouldn’t be part of it in any way,” he added.

Pandemic-related shortages have affected the industry in other ways. Sculley said he spoke to a trucker whose business was down because a shortage of computer chips meant there were fewer cars to haul.

“This thing is starting to ripple through the whole economy,” he said.

“We were all pretty optimistic that we were going to see demand and supply start to balance out, and that’s taking longer than a lot of us in the industry originally anticipated,” he said. said Jeff Aiosa, owner and operator of Mercedes-Benz of New London. The omicron variant rejected this prediction. “Obviously the protests now seem to be the next punch that hopefully won’t drag on,” he said.

Scott Dolch, president of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said he hadn’t heard of any supply chain shortages directly linked to the protests, but said restaurants were struggling to get ‘protein’ – including seafood and chicken wings, which are the hot item for Super Bowl weekend.

A New Haven-based restaurant owner told him he’s sticking to paper menus because supply chain issues are changing what they can offer.

“It’s not like you can’t order it,” he said. “The million dollar question” is when restaurant drivers open the truck door for their deliveries, “if she’s there,” he said.

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