Manitoba shipper believes longer border waits tied to U.S. shutdown

The partial government shutdown in the United States is in its third week, and one Manitoba company believes longer wait times experienced recently at the Pembina-Emerson border crossing are connected.

Runnin’ Red Transport is a cross border courier company in Emerson. It makes multiple trips across the border daily.

The Emerson-based courier says it’s required to use the commercial lane at the border.

In December, co-owner Jerrold Gabb said his vehicles waited about 30 minutes to get into the U.S. Since the New Year, it’s been even longer.

“So much so that we’ve had a few vehicles that’s stuck at the border three hours plus, just waiting for crossing into the States,” said Gabb.

He believes the waits are connected to the U.S. government shutdown, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers off work.

Gabb said delays have caused drivers to miss deadlines, costing his company time and money.

“We do have to keep staff on for longer. We have to pay overtime as a result and yeah it does hurt the bottom line,” he said.

Gabb said he’s also seen longer lines of trucks at the border in the past month, and he isn’t alone.

A man shared a photo of a long line of trucks at the border with CTV News Tuesday, explaining that he often comes to the area for work and this is the longest line of trucks he’s ever seen, about 100 waiting in all.

CTV News spoke with a U.S assistant area port director at the border. He said Mondays and Tuesday are the busiest days for truck traffic and the shutdown hasn’t affected crossing times.

The same director said workers at the border are considered essential and the border is fully staffed.

When asked if everyone was getting paid, CTV News was directed to the public affairs branch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As of Wednesday night, we have not heard back.

Truckers who spoke with CTV News Wednesday afternoon say crossing times don’t appear to be affected.

“This time of day, about 15 minutes,” said one driver who said he crosses multiple times a week.

“This is my first time I’m south crossing since the shutdown, this looks pretty normal actually,” said another.

Back at Runnin’ Red Transport, Gabb hopes business returns to normal.

“It would be nice to get things settled sooner than later,” he said.

Gabb said the company is doing what it can to work around delays, crossing when there isn’t a line.

The Canadian Border Services Agency said it’s operating as per normal.