TORONTO, Ont. – After the Nipigon River Bridge was closed indefinitely and later reduced to one lane after bolts that were holding the bridge together broke, the Canadian Truck Alliance and Ontario Trucking Association are praising a decision made by US Customs and Border Protection.
The USCBP is currently allowing commercial vehicles to ship Canadian domestic goods in-transit through the US using a limited data set at select ports of entry.
The USCBP has agreed to a temporary emergency contingency plan, which will allow carriers to enter the United States between at Port Huron, Detroit or Sault Ste. Marie, MI; International Falls or Grand Portage, MN (between 8 am and 4 pm); and Pembina, ND.
“We are extremely pleased by and appreciative of this outcome and the swiftness with which our concerns were responded to,” says David Bradley, president and CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Ontario Trucking Association. “This will assist many truckers who are currently being impacted by the bridge problem on the Trans-Canada Highway at Nipigon, Ont.”
Before this agreement was reached, Canadian carriers were still technically allowed to move Canadian goods through the US, though it was hard to do as they were treated as international in nature after 9/11. To move in-transit shipments through the United States, a trucking company would have to provide eManifest data to USCBP prior to arrival at the border, including the value for each shipment on board – a major obstacle since such data is not generally available from shippers for what is really a domestic shipment.
Right now, the bridge is still operating with one lane open to traffic, alternating between east and westbound traffic. Delays in that are area are averaging close to one hour as trucks are being escorted one by one on the bridge.
For those carriers wishing to take advantage of going through the US instead of crossing the single lane at Nipigon, please click here for a document outlining procedures and resources.