TORONTO, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance is likening CEO David Bradley’s speech to the Canadian-American Border Trade Alliance to a spaghetti western, complete with the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of Canada-US trade issues.
Bradley said the good was the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program, the e-Manifest programs in both countries, the soon-to-be-commenced in-transit pilot program in the US, progress on the Gordie Howe International Bridge and continuing to work toward a single window concept.
Bradley added, however, that he feels security still trumps trade in the US, and that measures implemented over the past 15 years have reduced efficiency and productivity at the border.
He said trucks are still subject to extended backups on any given day and unpredictable wait-times has impaired reliability of the North American supply chain.
Bradley also said the introduction of measures by non-customs departments that have no element of risk management and fees, citing the US Agricultural Plant Health Inspection Service, are illegal under the NAFTA and GATT agreements, as they contradict the spirit of initiatives, such as the Beyond the Borders action plan.
Other issues Bradley raised included several inconsistencies between Canada and the US with trusted-traders and e-Manifest programs, a lack of real progress on true pre-clearance versus pre-inspection, Canada not equipping commercial lanes with radio frequency identification (RFID) and the US’s response so far to a ‘broadly-supported and common sense’ proposal to allow foreign drivers to reposition foreign empty trailers.
“I know there are many challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome to make this a reality,” Bradley said. “However, if we have the vision there are enough smart, hard working people in government and industry on both sides of the border to make it happen.”
Bradley outlined his five pillars of an ideal future, which he said both Canadian and US government should adopt. They included:
1. Introduce true reciprocity between the PIP and C-TPAT programs and elimination by Canada of the CSA program for carriers.
2. Adopt a one-card system for drivers built around the FAST card, which could be tiered to reflect different security levels and the elimination of the CDRP card in Canada and the transportation worker identification card (TWIC) in the US.
3. Equip all commercial lanes into Canada with RFID, replacing the requirement for transponders by using the FAST card, which is already RFID-ready as the means of transmission, standardizing the advance notice for e-Manifest for trusted-traders to 30 minutes in both countries and making e-Manifest for empties mandatory.
4. Consistent with real perimeter security and a beyond the border focus, introduce true pre-clearance in the form of ‘green lanes’ where trusted-traders and shipments would obtain advance clearance electronically at approved facilities and proceed to and cross the border without having to stop.
5. Ensure regulations (e.g., labour mobility for truck drivers) reflect modern logistics practices and seek true North American standards where possible.