Thanks to a need to bring oil to refiners and to market, commercial truck traffic at the Estevan Highway Port between North Dakota and Saskatchewan was up by almost 450 per cent in April of this year compared with April 2011, said the Canada Border Services Agency in a report issued May 11.
Regular passenger vehicle volumes were about the same at this port with 2,738 vehicles that were carrying 4,980 travellers. But when it came to commercial trucks, the number increased to 608 trucks in April of this year compared with 112 last year in the same month.
“This is due to an increase in commercial imports of bulk oil,” said Lisa White, spokeswoman for CBSA.
The traffic at the North Portal crossing, the busiest border crossing in Saskatchewan, also continued to increase significantly.
There were 29,906 travellers crossing into Canada from the United States at North Portal last month, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared with last April. Although the non-commercial passenger numbers were up a bit at North Portal, the number of vehicles they were in was fairly constant compared with last year at 7,917.
The commercial truck traffic at that station was up, by 18 per cent to 11,303 trucks, which is continuing a trend of significant and steady increases of commercial truck traffic at that port over the past couple of years. The one exception was last summer when highway traffic throughout the region was slowed or curtailed completely for several weeks at a time due to flood conditions. That meant many commercial loads that would have normally crossed into Saskatchewan at North Portal or the Estevan Highway were scrambled around, with companies finding alternate routes. That began in late May and continued through to August before repairs could be completed that enabled drivers to resume their normal routes into Canada.