The Canada Transportation Agency says the Canadian trucking industry is expected to ship around 2,000 metric tons of freight in 2019 to Japan, the first time Canadian truck operators will be shipping to the region since a 2014 trade dispute.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the milestone Monday, as the industry’s share of Canadian imports plunged nearly 40 per cent in the past year.
“It’s a really good start,” said John Gourlay, a trucking consultant.
“The Canadian truck industry is a great market for us, it’s a great industry for our country.
We need to keep the momentum going.”
Garneau said the new shipment will be the first Canadian shipments to Japan since the 2014 NAFTA trade dispute, which was eventually settled.
The move will also add to the trade surplus between Canada and Japan.
It’s the second time the two countries have worked together in recent years.
In January, Canadian truck drivers successfully lobbied the Canadian government to allow them to ship their trucks to the country in a deal that gave them an $8 million boost in their annual salaries.
But the deal was halted by the U.S. in November after Trump signed an executive order banning the importation of any foreign goods.
“We have been in a very difficult period, and we are looking at the opportunities,” Garneau told reporters Monday.
“This is the first step to moving forward, and it’s something we are very proud of.”
Canada’s current export-led economy is in a tailspin and has been on a downward trend for years.
Garneau was the first minister in Canada’s history to be elected on a platform that included a pledge to bring back manufacturing jobs.
The Liberals have promised to bring jobs back to Canada by 2020.
But Garneau has been criticized by some for pushing ahead with the deal with the U