First of all, the vaccine is here and we can feel a certain relief among the population! Canada’s Prime Minister is promising total vaccination by September and in Quebec, the promise is that the very first vaccine will be distributed by the national holiday of June 24th! Our southern neighbors are also getting vaccinated and at an even faster pace! The promise of a total vaccination by the national holiday of July 4th seems to be the ultimate wish of the Biden administration! In Europe, the variants are still causing a lot of concerns, while in Asia… the pandemic seems to be under control, or even over, at least in China!
Another good news is that the Canadian economy is looking better than expected in this 1st quarter! We are talking about a GDP growth of 0.7% in January and a forecast of 0.5% in February, which is quite phenomenal (on an annual basis) considering that restaurants, the tourism industry and the entire airline sector are still shut down! The unemployment rate is also relatively low, which gives us hope for an early repayment of the debt following the pandemic.
The freight transportation market is booming right now, both in North America and internationally!
On the North American side, trucks are moving from coast to coast and in both countries! Aside from the price increase at the pump, rates remain relatively stable.
Internationally, the situation is quite different and patience is required… delays have increased and costs have risen substantially! We will have to wait a few more months before we can expect a return to normal. Import and export demands have suddenly increased and a large percentage of vessels were put aside during the pandemic until there was enough traffic to fill them up!
In our industry, a truck doesn’t move without cargo on board and the same goes for a vessel! We have all seen the images of the Evergreen (Ever Given) vessel trapped in the Suez Canal! With over 20,000 containers on board, you can imagine the number of buying and selling transactions to fill such a vessel!!!