Alaska truck drivers adapting to Canada vaccination requirement

For trucking businesses in Alaska, if they are trying to stay open, options are limited.
For trucking businesses in Alaska, if they are trying to stay open, options are limited.(Georgina Fernandez)
Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 7:30 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaskan trucking businesses that transport goods through Canada are adapting to Canadian vaccine requirements.

“This time of year, you can’t hardly really turn down a lot of stuff,” Alaska Auto Transport Manager Randy Stingley said. “If things go across Canada, you have to be vaccinated.”

Stingley said he has been on the fence about the COVID-19 vaccine, stating that he isn’t an anti-vaxxer, but that he does not believe in it. Yet, Stingley said that in order for his business to stay open, he had to get the vaccine.

On Nov. 19, 2021, the Canadian government announced that starting Jan. 15, truck drivers would not be allowed entry into Canada without being fully vaccinated. For his business to still be able to transport vehicles, Stingley said that himself and another employee of his got vaccinated.

“We went ahead and did it to be able to provide the service from here to Haines, or here to the Southeast,” Stingley said.

Alaska Auto Transport, according to Stingley, is in charge of hauling up the legislature’s vehicle to Juneau and back each year. To do that, his drivers have to travel through Canada.

“It made it basically to where it was very inconvenient and somebody had to go do it. So as one of the bosses, I did it,” Stingley said.

However, Stingley said the vaccine is not very valuable to him, noting that either he or his other driver only spends approximately five and a half hours driving through Canada. The only reason they would need to stop is to check their haul.

Stingley said the trucking industry is already seeing a decrease in workers. He said that he will have people set up interviews but not show up. Stingley said he expects the vaccination requirement will impact what products can be transported up to Alaska.

“In the state of Alaska, you’ll definitely see the yellow produce or yellow lettuce again because they won’t come up over the highway,” Stingley said.

Some grocery store chains that serve Alaska, like Safeway, do not ship their produce through Canada, and therefore are not affected by the country’s vaccine requirement for truckers.

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