Maritime truckers keep on trucking through troubling times

SALISBURY, N.B. —
Truckers travelling to and from the Maritime are more relied upon than ever as supplies are low in many areas. However, closures in Canada and the United States leave fewer places for them to eat, sleep and bathe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s just brought a lot more uncertainty into the day-to-day activity as to whether you can have loads, whether people are going to be receiving, who you can talk to, who you can’t talk to, where you can get your food or not get your food – all those things become uncertain,” says truck driver Robin Dimmick.

However, it’s a sacrifice most truckers must make as supplies remain scarce and non-existent in some places.

“We got to replenish daily distribution centers, stores, food, medicine supplies, water, fuel, all those things we use daily,” says Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association executive director, Jean-Marc Picard.

Social distancing, even with customers, is being strongly emphasized.

“Customers worry about people coming into their premises,” says Dimmick. “So, a lot of them you have to buzz to get in, or they speak to you over a speakerphone at the gate, and you just stay in your truck.”

With rising closures in Canada and across the border, there’s been limited access to daily essentials for those who live on the road.

“It’s beginning to be worrisome for some drivers,” says Picard. “They’re kind of like ‘we need a place to rest, to shower, and eat and things like that.'”

Clients and shops receiving end the supplies say if the trucking industry were to stop, they would be in a lot of trouble.

“Trucks are on the roads everywhere in Atlantic Canada, and they provide products that we sell in our stores, and those products are there to provide to customers – it’s a chain,” says Atlantic Convenience Stores Association president, Mike Hammoud. “So, if you lose the start of the chain, the end of the chain suffers because there won’t be anything left on our shelves.”

Despite their uncertainty, drivers say they’re trucking on with the knowledge they provide an essential service – one delivery at a time.

“Everybody has a role, I guess,” says trucker driver, Lorne Ross. “I mean, you’ve got tanker division. You want fuel? Shut them down – see what happens to you.”



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