Media Release: A Pulse of the Windsor-Essex Economy - Logistics, Transportation & Cross-Border

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Windsor Essex COVID-19 Economic Task Force


Thank you to all the women and men in the logistics, transportation and cross-border sector who have stepped up to help us get through this crisis.
Windsor-Essex County, Ontario, Canada –Thursday, April 17, 2020 – Led by the Institute for Border Logistics and Security (IBLS), the Logistics, Transportation & Cross-Border Committee (LTCB) for the WindsorEssex COVID-19 Economic Task Force is comprised of representatives from the trucking industry, logistics and warehousing, border operators, airport operations and members of the Windsor Transportation Club. The Committee has met virtually several times since the outbreak to exchange data and personal accounts of the economic impact of COVID-19.
The LTCB sector has and will continue to be an essential service for myriad reasons. The women and men in the LTCB sector have stepped up to help get the entire population through the crisis by ensuring the delivery of healthcare services, medical equipment, food, and other essential items. They have done so in the following capacities:
  • Transporting goods throughout Windsor-Essex, Ontario, Canada, and the United States;
  • Keeping the border open and safe (like the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel) so that trade and essential cross-border commuters can cross;
  • Ensuring construction persists on the Gordie Howe International Bridge;
  • Providing important linkages to raw materials for construction through Port Windsor; and
  • Maintaining operations at the Windsor International Airport for general aviation and medical and emergency flights.
The region’s logistics, transportation and cross-border sector is on the frontline of maintaining the health, safety, security and economic well-being of the residents of the Windsor-Essex region.
Locally, the LTCB sector plays an important role. It is made up of 2,600 businesses employing over 10,000 workers in Windsor-Essex. While designated as being essential, the logistics, transportation and cross-border sector is not immune to the economic hardships being faced by the rest of the economy. Due to the shutting down of non-essential businesses across the country because of COVID-19 restrictions, many trucking companies are driving empty trailers or have idled their trucks thus generating little or no revenue. Given the strength of the automotive sector in the Windsor-Essex region, the announcement by the large automotive companies to close their plants to halt the spread of COVID-19, combined with travel bans, have had a dramatic impact to the local logistics, transportation and cross-border sector.
To help illustrate the significant drop in the transportation and logistics industry the following data has been compiled:
  • Daily traffic on Huron Church is down 52% and truck traffic is down 43%. Year-to-date traffic at the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel has declined by 88% compared to the same period last year; and from March 1st through to April 8th, overall traffic has declined by 55%;
  • The Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry has ceased its operations for the first time in its 30 years of business due to the COVID-19 crisis; and
  • All commercial flights have ceased flying in and out of the Windsor International Airport until the end of April. This suspension of services has an additional impact on the region's overall transportation sector.
The LTCB sector in the Windsor-Essex region is facing serious challenges. Yet, cautious optimism remains that the sector will rebound once the travel ban is lifted, people are patronizing hospitality and entertainment establishments and there is a demand once again for non-essential goods. The sector has also witnessed a wave of gratitude for continuing to work during these difficult times. Social media campaigns thanking truckers (#thankatrucker) have been well received by the general public. And, in return, the sector has given back. The Windsor Transportation Club has launched a “Feed the Frontline” initiative to provide meals to frontline healthcare workers with support from several local restaurants. For more details, visit:
“This sector is represented by a variety of companies and interests. And, yet, these hard-working individuals (dispatchers, warehouse workers, truck drivers, toll collectors, airport officials, border officers and others) are also the faces we see daily on the frontlines of this crisis doing their job. They, too, are our heroes.”
~ Susan Anzolin, Executive Director, Institute for Border Logistics and Security
“Governments in Canada have acted swiftly and in an unprecedented manner to respond to the needs of companies, but this support is needed now and quickly. As an employer of a local trucking company, I am fortunate to have a group of dedicated and loyal employees but the costs of doing business during this crisis are extremely challenging for a sector that already faced very tight margins. But, make no mistake that the trucking industry continues to move essential goods across North America, and we are ready to move goods once the bans are lifted.”
~ Adam Pernasilici, Vice President, Laser Transport Inc.
The Windsor Essex COVID-19 Economic Task Force was established March 18, 2020 and is comprised of 40 members who represent a broad cross-section of industries in Windsor-Essex, Ontario Canada. The Task Force is sub-divided into six separate committees, each with upwards of 15 members.
The mission of the Windsor Essex COVID-19 Economic Task Force is to collect, coordinate and disseminate information on strategies, programs, and other remedies that are available to mitigate the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the economic well-being of workers, entrepreneurs, businesses and the regional economy. The Task Force has, and will continue to, strategize and formalize re-ignition plans for their respective industries in the context of the overall Windsor-Essex, provincial and national economies. Learn more
General Inquiries:
Ryan Donally, Secretariat
Windsor Essex COVID-19 Economic Task Force
Mobile: (226) 346-8919
LTCB Committee Inquiries:
Susan Anzolin, Chair, Logistics, Transportation and Cross-Border Committee
Institute for Border Logistics and Security
Mobile: (519) 996-1520
Adam Pernasilici
Vice President, Laser Transport Inc.
Mobile: (519) 990-5744