Plan For New Trucking Program Creating Ease For Loads Crossing Canadian Border
Crossing from Canada into the US could go faster and more smoothly for truckers, thanks to a pilot trucking program recently initiated as part of the Canada-US Beyond the Border Declaration. The year-long pilot is underway at the Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo that leads to I-190.
The pilot involves pre-inspection of certain trucks headed into the US from Canada, and participation is voluntary. In fact, at this point, only certain trucks are eligible for pre-inspection. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: You have to “pass” a couple of initial questions.
- An official from the Peace Bridge Authority will stop you and ask if you have already paid your cross-border fees.
- If you have not yet paid and you’re paying in cash, you’ll have to follow normal crossing procedures.
- If you have paid and your truck has a working transponder, you can elect to go through pre-inspection.
Step 2: If you choose the pilot program, you’ll be channeled into a lane where you will drive slowly between two radiation scanners. If you are cleared, you’ll proceed to a drive-through Customs booth. If radiation is detected, you’ll be pulled aside for Canadian Border Services Agency adjudication
Step 3: The Customs official will give you a pink pass and direct you to a special pre-inspection lane that will take you across the bridge and send you on your way. You can’t miss this lane – it has a huge pink electronic sign overhead.
If you participate in the pilot program, you’ll still need to present your identification, e-manifest and coversheet. If your trailer is empty, you’re encouraged to pre-submit your e-manifest to further expedite the process.
Efficiently securing our borders.
Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness is a joint project of the United States and Canada, which takes a shared approach to security “to address threats within, at, and away from our borders, while expediting lawful trade and travel.” It was originally announced in early 2011, with an incremental action plan that included numerous initiatives. Speeding the passage of trucks and cargo across the US-Canada border while improving the inspection process is one of those initiatives.
Last year, Phase I of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot program was implemented in Surrey, BC (across the border from Blaine, Washington). So far that location has pre-inspected about 3500 US-bound commercial trucks. With the success of Phase I, officials began implementation of Phase II here in New York. Again, the pilot program’s goal is to reduce border congestion and wait times for trucks by streamlining the inspection process.
If this Phase II pilot is also successful, you can expect to see the program expanded to include other Canada-US border crossings.