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CTA condemns additional border crossing fees

OTTAWA, Ont. -- It continues to get more expensive to transport goods into the US, thanks to two new rules introduc...

OTTAWA, Ont. — It continues to get more expensive to transport goods into the US, thanks to two new rules introduced in the US – both with fees attached.

In April, carriers crossing into the US can expect to pay an additional 50 cents for the single-crossing fee for commercial trucks. The fee stands at $5 today. The increase is necessary to help offset the costs of operating the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, US officials claim.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration has announced it will be charging truckers between US$107 and US$127 for a Transportation Worker Identity Credential (TWIC), if they plan to access any US ports. This will even apply to drivers who already have a FAST card, which ironically is issued by the same department.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) scoffs at the new fees, but warns the TWIC card may eventually extend beyond ports to other parts of the transportation industry.

As of Mar. 1, trucks entering the US will be subject to a US$5.50 agricultural inspection fee regardless of the types of commodities they are carrying. Carriers may obtain a transponder for agricultural inspections that will cost US$105 per truck annually, on top of an existing US$100 charged by CBP.

I suppose one could look at a 50 cent increase and say its not the end of the world said CTA CEO David Bradley. But what bothers me, and should be of grave concern to Canadian exporters, is that the cost to send goods into the United States continues to rise, with absolutely no end in sight. Carriers are also spending to get ready for new US requirements for the electronic submission of manifests, and for supply chain security programs such as C-TPAT. If a driver wants to become part of the Free and Secure Trade program, or even if they move hazardous material across the border, thats another $80. CTA has estimated that the industry as a whole could be paying as much as half a billion dollars per year in various fees and charges.

Bradley said the CTA will continue to fight the implementation of redundant fees.

Well continue to do what we can as an industry to raise awareness of the importance of this problem, said Bradley. But in the end, it will take intervention at the highest levels of the Canadian government with the US to put a stop to this disturbing trend. In the meantime, we have no alternative but to encourage carriers to pass these costs along to our customers or die the death of a thousand knives.

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