Publisher’s Comment: Pass The Dictionary Please

by Rob Wilkins

Last month, our editorial team focused their efforts on reporting the new rules of hauling goods to the U.S. Sponsored by ChevronTexaco and published as a special report, it was the “meat and potatoes” of making a crossing.

Security and prenotification issues were explained, FAST-lane-enabled border crossings were listed and my favorite, “A rookie driver’s guide to clearing customs” gave you a better understanding of what’s involved.

It was well written and well researched (OK, maybe I’m a little biased.)

Anyway, part of the report listed both the U.S. and Canadian acronyms used to describe the many pieces of the security puzzle. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. How can one person possibly remember what it all means?

If any of you missed it, there were no less then 19 “need to know” acronyms. You had the PNSI, MOU, SCAC, C-TPAT, PIP, ACI, PARS, FDA (I know that one, gold star for me) FIRST, CAFES… you get the drift.

Good grief, both governments should consider giving drivers and owner/operators recognized diplomas the minute their steer tires hit the other’s pavement.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize and understand the importance of securing our border.

In fact, I’m one of those people who don’t mind the extended wait at our airports. If I’m being given the third degree so is everyone else. It’s just that I can’t understand why it has to be so complicated.

For carriers, the most important of all these acronyms is C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism). In essence, this voluntary program requires you to disclose your security measures.

If they measure up, you’ll receive a number of benefits including a reduced number of inspections, an assigned account manager and emphasis on self-policing (among others).

It also provides C-TPAT approved members with an excellent sales/marketing tool when selling their services to shippers who place special emphasis on security measures. Use this to your advantage, chances are your competitors will.

C-TPAT is also mandatory for participation in FAST (Free and Secure Trade) so if you want to get in the game you have no choice but to belly up to the bar.

The rules have changed but don’t be discouraged by the red tape.

Jump in with both feet, it’s the future.

Although confusing at first, once you’re set up, hauling goods between countries should (emphasis on should) be a lot less stressful.

Now, where’s my SRCNC (small regular coffee with no cream)?

– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-442-2097.

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