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Advance information key to minimizing border congestion

TORONTO, Ont. -- Livingston International is encouraging businesses to provide complete and accurate advance inform...

TORONTO, Ont. — Livingston International is encouraging businesses to provide complete and accurate advance information to customs officials to help prevent border line-ups.

“Advance information lets customs officials know what’s in the shipment before it arrives at the border. This helps them decide which shipments to physically inspect and prevents truck drivers from having to wait for missing information to be provided by the shipper,” says Larry Hahn, director of regulatory affairs for a North American broker and trade services company.

Another example, says Hahn, is the Container Security Initiative where container information is provided to the
United States from the country of origin in advance. The principle of considering ‘known’ shipments to be a lower risk began several years ago, but took on greater significance after 9/11, he says.

“Since then, governments have applied this principle and fast-tracked technologies and processes that expedite the movement of goods across the border more securely. These programs are working and many companies have taken steps to take advantage of them,” Hahn says.

Other programs include the U.S. PAPS (Pre-Arrival Processing System) and Canada’s PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System) as well as more involved initiatives such as FAST (Free and Secure Trade), C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) in the United States and Canada’s Partners in Protection.

“We have dedicated enormous resources to helping our clients take advantage of these new initiatives,” says Hahn. “But even companies that don’t yet participate can help themselves by ensuring that U.S. Customs has full information before their shipments reach the border.”

Hahn noted that Livingston International was one of the few brokers who didn’t close on 9/11.

“Our staff stayed to help. They’ve been there in ice storms, power blackouts and other crises. And we will stand by our clients during this latest security alert.”

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