Coronavirus: Truck drivers working non-stop to deliver essential goods, but it's tough

WATCH: As people wait in lines outside big box stores for home supplies, truckers are on the road making sure deliveries are met. But as Global’s Tim Sargeant explains, a lot of their time is also spent waiting in long lineups at the U.S./Canada border.

Whether you’re a big box store or a little local shop, you need supplies to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic and the trucking industry is essential to making that happen.

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But like in much of the economy, overall demand in the trucking industry is down.

Trucking companies like LSKL Trucking in Pointe-Claire are a critical link in the supply chain to move essential products in the fight against COVID-19 such as masks, ventilators and medication.

“We are important. We’re part of the puzzle,” said Shawn Lemaire, the owner of LKSL Trucking.

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Lemaire is doing what he can to meet the demand for certain goods. He recently delivered more than 16,000 paper towel rolls to a Costco warehouse.

But the delivery of these supplies isn’t driving up profits.

The economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 has put the brakes on his revenues. Business is down more than six per cent.

“It’s very stressful to be a business owner right now. And you know, you’re lucky that you have backing of good employees like we do,” Lemaire told Global News.

The stress is felt across the entire industry, which is facing a double whammy: a lack of demand combined with annual registration fees that were due April 1.

“Some trucking companies have completely shut down and did not register their trucks,” said Marc Cadieux, president of the Quebec Trucking Association.

The number of truck drivers entering Canada is decreasing. Almost 80,000 truckers crossed the border last week, but that’s a drop of 29 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“We’re talking about an economic slowdown,” explained Veronique Proulx, president of Quebec’s Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

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Quebec’s manufacturing sector has been one of the hardest-hit industries. For some, like the aerospace industry, it could take months or years to recover.

“We’re concerned because we think demand will decrease. So it may take a quite a while,” Proulx said.

As for Lemaire, he is trying to prepare for the future ahead.

“We’re trying to move whatever we can right now so that we can pad ourselves to maintain our employees,” Lemaire said.

Everyone’s just hoping to go into overdrive once the crisis lifts and the economy starts rolling again.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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