How does new border crossing legislation affect your job?
July 1, 2005
CONCORD, Ont. - Shipping freight in and out of the U.S. is not the basic task it used to be. With increasing traffic congestion causing longer waits and looming legislation threatening even tighter se...
CONCORD, Ont. – Shipping freight in and out of the U.S. is not the basic task it used to be. With increasing traffic congestion causing longer waits and looming legislation threatening even tighter security, drivers may start to truly dread their trips down south.
Truck News stopped by the Pinecrest Restaurant and Truck Stop to find out how much border crossing affects their day to day operations.
Bob Rage, a company driver with XTL Transport in Alexandria, Ont. for 18 years, hasn’t had to cross the border in all his 31 years of truck driving.
“The company I started out with didn’t go to the U.S. and when I switched companies, they said, ‘You can stay in Canada,'” he said.
But despite all the recent problems of post 9/11 border crossing, Rage has recently been toying with the idea of shipping freight south after all these years.
“I’d rather not (have to do border crossing) but I’m contemplating it right now because there’s a slow-down in business in Canada.”
Guy Hamel, a driver with Noly Transport, in Quebec City, Que. hasn’t been across the border in over 10 years.
“I used to cross the border all the time. It was no problem,” he said. “Now with the new legislation, there’s a lot more problems.”
The veteran driver of 37 years intends to stay local for as long as he can.
“I want to stay in Canada because of the problems they have at the border. It’s nothing like 10 years ago.”
Occasional crosser Joga Saint, driver for Winnipeg-based Kleysen Transport Solutions, said the wait at the border is often solely based on the border officer’s mood, so he makes sure he has everything ready to go to avoid ticking them off.
“If you make a mistake, you can get fined really heavily,” he said.
“So when I’m going to the border, I make sure the night before that I have all my paperwork and everything is okay.”
Because Saint’s crossings are infrequent, he doesn’t carry a FAST card, but he still believes the current system is flawed. “Of course I think they should have some kind of policy for identification, but they’ve got to come up with a better system than they have now.”
Wayne Robertson, a 20-year veteran O/O from Kitchener, Ont., crosses the border about once a week and has noticed a positive change lately.
“I’m noticing there’s less of a pile-up and less lines,” he said.
But he still thinks the potential use of retina scans for identification isn’t practical and the requirement to have a valid passport is pointless.
“What does a passport tell you? It tells you the last time that entity vacated one country and entered another,” he said.
“My FAST card indicates that I’m low-risk and that I’ve been checked out (by the authorities). I would think the FAST card would be a way more useful tool – and one that we already have – rather than carrying around a passport.”