SURREY, B.C. - U.S. Customs is singing a different tune after facing stiff opposition over a crackdown on drivers at the Pacific Highway border crossing, between B.C. and Washington State.After severa...
SURREY, B.C. – U.S. Customs is singing a different tune after facing stiff opposition over a crackdown on drivers at the Pacific Highway border crossing, between B.C. and Washington State.
After several trucks were held up and others were turned away, the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) met with U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) officials to express concern that the drivers were being forced to reveal what they would be bringing back into Canada.
“U.S. Customs were turning drivers back at the border unless they had something from their dispatcher indicating what was going to be coming back into Canada in terms of the northbound load,” explains BCTA president Paul Landry.
He adds that drivers, even on short-distance runs, “seldom know what’s coming back,” until they reach their U.S. destination.
After the BCTA expressed their displeasure with the crackdown, U.S. Customs has backed down, and in most cases, they no longer require that information.
“Having received some letters from carriers about their operations, the INS is (now) only making demands on drivers where there are suspicious circumstances,” says Landry.
Feedback from Canadian companies have improved the border guard’s understanding of the trucking industry, he explains.
Although carriers were only being hassled at the one border crossing, Pacific Highway port director Bruce Bruner insists nothing unusual is taking place.
“Our policy has not changed,” insists Bruner.
“There was a miscommunication and that’s all.”
He admits U.S. officials there now realize that drivers may not always be able to provide information about the next leg of their trip. Bruner denies that any trucks were turned back at the border. n