Agriculture, transportation, and the COVID‐19 crisis
- Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics
- In this short paper, I assess how COVID‐19‐related disruptions in transportation services, as well as new demands for transportation services, could impact Canadian agricultural supply chains. The brief analysis reveals that agricultural access to bulk ocean freight, rail movement, and trucking has generally improved in the pandemic, bolstered by the reduced demand for these transportation services by other sectors of the economy. The intermodal containerized movement of grains and food products has seen some disruption from the lack of empty containers in North America. The widespread consumer adoption of physical distancing measures has vastly increased the demand for retail food pickup and delivery services to the point where these services are being rationed by long wait times. From a policy perspective, there is an apparent need for (a) continued supply chain monitoring and industry engagement, (b) the proactive development of strategies to deal with absenteeism and other potential threats to the supply chain, and (c) an assessment of the economic and health merits of providing additional public resources to provide greater access to grocery pickup and delivery services.