Border crossing charges set to increase in June

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OTTAWA, Ont. — It now appears certain the US will proceed with its plan to impose a border crossing fee of $US 5.25 per truck on June 1st.

The levy is designed to fund additional agricultural quarantine inspections on the Canada/US border. The fee will be applied to trucks that pay to enter the US on a per crossing basis – regardless of what they are carrying – but will not impact those carriers who have already purchased a 2007 user fee transponder.

“We had remained hopeful up to now that the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) would further delay land border implementation in light of ongoing discussions with the Canadian government, and a wide range of US and Canadian interest groups, on alternative means to reduce threats to US agriculture from foreign pests,” noted David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “But discussions CTA has had with US and Canadian officials over the past week have indicated that no further delay will take place, and individual ports have begun to issue notices warning of higher fees on June 1st. It’s frustrating, but carriers and their drivers who pay on a single crossing basis should get prepared.”

Under an interim rule issued last summer, Canada’s long-standing exemption from US Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) fees was removed. All modes of transportation are impacted.

In the case of trucking, those who buy an annual border crossing transponder saw their fees more than double from $100 to $205 when they purchased their 2007 transponders last fall. Beginning June 1, trucks that currently pay a single crossing fee of $5.50 to US Customs and Border Protection will see an increase to $10.75.

In total, the US government expects to raise $15 million in agricultural quarantine inspection fees from the trucking industry in 2007, and $78 million from the transportation industry as a whole.

“The cost of moving goods across the border is about to go up again, and once more governments are looking to the trucking industry to foot the bill,” said Bradley. “Carriers are frustrated because there seems to be no end in sight to rising border costs…whether it be for APHIS, for compliance with security programs such as C-TPAT or for new electronic manifest requirements, charges in Canada to offload goods for customs inspections, Canada’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System – even CBP has jumped in the act by raising its per crossing fee earlier this year.

Carriers have been attempting, with varying degrees of success, to pass these fees along to their customers. But regardless of who pays, it is getting more expensive to move goods across the border with our largest trading partner. This can’t be allowed to continue if Canada is to remain competitive in the US market with goods from China, India, and other developing economic powerhouses,” added Bradley.

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