Lacolle FAST Lane Ready

by Carroll McCormick

LACOLLE, Que. – The dedicated southbound FAST lane at the Champlain-Lacolle border crossing south of Montreal is open for business, although it only starts where the highway widens a few hundred feet from Champlain crossing.

Transports Quebec plans to build a much longer exit lane, but completion of that project lies in the future, officials say.

As for FAST registration, more drivers and carriers are FAST-registered than this spring, according to CCRA officials, who say 400 FAST cards have already been issued at Lacolle.

By the beginning of July, there were reportedly 112 FAST approved carriers, with certification pending for many more companies, including importers that already applied to the program.

FAST shows its strength when three parties – card-carrying truckers driving for carriers that are pre-approved to carry specific importers’ goods – are involved. For trucks coming to the border with all three pieces of the puzzle, processing time can be as little as 30 seconds, compared to a half-hour or so for drivers that have to show their manifests, park and pay a visit to their broker before continuing their runs.

Volumes, however, are not yet high enough to justify building a dedicated northbound FAST lane and booth at Lacolle, say officials, although the CCRA can send all FAST shipments to one of its commercial booths, in effect temporarily dedicating one booth to FAST shipments.

Contrary to earlier reports, only the Lacolle crossing is FAST capable. Saint-Armand and Stanstead will be FAST-capable by the end of 2003, although they will not get dedicated FAST lanes, say officials.

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