Whatcom County, WA
Goal 4: Create a dynamic relationship between Whatcom County and Lower British Columbia, Skagit, Island, and San Juan Counties.
Whatcom’s Canadian Border
The US-Canada border is a vital asset to Whatcom County and Washington State’s economy. The figures below were developed by the International Mobility & Trade Corridor Program (IMTC) and demonstrate how important the Cascade Gateway is on a national level.
The Top 20 US-Canada Border Crossings figure below shows Blaine, WA continues to have the 3rd highest number of border crossings in passenger vehicles, with other Whatcom locations such as Point Roberts, Sumas, and Lynden also making the list. Passenger vehicle travel, pedestrian crossings, and bus and train passenger vehicles contributes to vital sectors of Whatcom's economy, in particular tourism, recreation, and retail sales.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic prevented non-essential travel across the U.S. – Canada border on a national level, traffic volumes have predictably dropped by over 95 percent at most ports-of-entry.
While all border crossings were impacted by the COVID-19 border closures, there was still variation in the amount of "essential" and "non-essential" travel between border crossings. For example, for truck volumes, all top commercial ports-of-entry saw slight reductions in volume with the exceptions of two in Whatcom County: Point Roberts truck volumes dropped 67 percent, and at Sumas/Abbotsford-Huntingdon, where there was no reduction at all.
Traffic volumes were dramatically impacted by the border travel restrictions.
The data below illustrates that every crossing saw a 75-85% drop in passenger vehicles each direction. Commercial traffic dropped 5% in response to the pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn.
The largest drop in commercial vehicles was at Point Roberts, with a 67% reduction in truck volumes.
Value increased at some ports and decreased at others. This might be explained by differences in supply chain and logistical issues across industries or commodities.