GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The nationwide truck protest in Canada is making an impact in West Michigan. Trucks formed a blockade at the base of the Ambassador Bridge — which connects Michigan to Canada — and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for an end to it.
“The fact of the matter is this is compromising and jeopardizing many jobs in the state of Michigan,” Gov. Whitmer said during a press conference about the budget. “We know that the autos are already starting to slow down. Some are closed or anticipate being closed within days. This needs to be resolved.”
The protest began in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. It’s since spread across the country, truck drivers blocking major roadways in protest of the country’s COVID restrictions and vaccine mandates.
The impact on the auto industry is being felt locally said Josh Lunger with the Grand Rapids Chamber.
“You’d be surprised how many manufacturers here are connected to the auto industry,” Lunger said during an interview with FOX 17 on Thursday. “So, you’ve got the big Tier 1 suppliers. But you start going down there’s a lot of businesses that you aren’t even aware are here but we’ve engaged with in the past and they are in that line.”
Lunger added that all of this happening at the same time as the global supply chain problems continue at the ports, and as the nationwide labor shortage lingers.
“There’s ships sitting off of all the major ports. When those products finally get through the process of getting unloaded and they’re waiting to get picked up, there’s a truck driver shortage. There’s a container shortage,” he said. “Good luck finding a rail to load this stuff up on. We’re already maxed out.”
Gov. Whitmer said she’s been in contact with Canadian officials and the White House, relaying just how severe the problems are and can be in the state.
In the meantime, Lunger encourages everyone to remain calm and not hit the panic button.
“I would say folks don’t maybe need to freak out about it but I do wish that the sooner we can get this cleaned up the better its is for all of us: our jobs, our economy, the products that we want to see in the stores when we get there,” Lunger said “And, urgency is definitely required.”