Regarding CBC’s coverage about cross border shoppers facing delays, we urge CBC to look at what is occurring in the REAL cross border “market place,” -commercial transport.
We realize it isn’t easy to look into what is occurring on the US side, however, we would like to point out that extensive abuses are directed toward Canadian drivers crossing into the US. It is commonplace to take three or more hours to cross into the US -all of which appears to be due to the indifference of US Customs officers assigned to commercial transportation duties. Drivers often stand in hallways for hours peering through a doorway window waiting for a gesture from a customs officer to approach the counter at Port Huron and Detroit. If you happen to be crossing at Buffalo, you are provided the “luxury” of a waiting room and audio queuing.
US Customs officers are often seen wandering around in the customs office – regardless of where you cross -approaching and leaving the counter area and more often than not, overheard talking about sports or events in their personal lives to one another, or on the telephone. It is a rare occasion to overhear a US officer discussing official business matters. Most of the time, what we observe are officers appearing to do little or nothing at all.
On a good night, a single driver may enter the office once every 15-20 minutes on average -and it takes about two minutes to process that one driver. It is an abusive environment and highly unprofessional. Drivers are literally forced to stand on their feet for hours at a time in a narrow hallway with nothing to do but badmouth US Customs, subjecting others to unwelcome profanities, and constant complaining about the situation -and rightfully so. I have personally often stood in line for three hours waiting for approximately 19 drivers ahead of me to be processed. Last Wednesday, Oct. 28, I waited 1 1/5 hours behind six drivers to be processed.
Coming into Canada from the US, our Custom’s system is a model of efficiency by comparison.
I truly hope that if not now, at some time in the future you will attempt to expose the abuses US Customs engages in toward Canadian commercial drivers…
We would like to point out that the majority of these drivers are paid by the mile and not compensated for the many hours enduring this process every week, sometimes several times per week, and that adds to a lot of uncompensated free labour for trucking companies over the course of a year.
Not only are we abused by US Customs, we are being taken advantage of by the Canadian companies for which we drive.