CTA offers suggestions to streamline flow of goods between Canada, US

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance has submitted a trio of priority issues to the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) in an effort to help remove costly regulatory barriers to the efficient movement of goods.

The RCC was created by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama to improve regulatory transparency and coordination between the two countries. It has been given a two-year mandate, and representatives from both countries are currently working towards the development of an agenda to guide future discussions. 

The CTA’s suggestions are as follows:

1. Streamline the process for moving “in-transit” goods. The CTA says this will allow for more efficient, lower cost and faster truck transit times for Canadian carriers moving domestic goods through the US.  The CTA notes that this would mean either convincing the US to harmonize its current rules or for Canada to adopt the US rules which would, in essence, put a stop to in-transit moves in both countries.

2. Provide the trucking industry on both sides of the border with greater flexibility to reposition foreign empty trailers using foreign drivers. The goal here would be to reduce the costs and inefficiencies associated with current Canadian and US restrictions on “spotting” an empty foreign trailer to the pick-up point of its return load home. The CTA notes that this would in no way impact current rules that reserve freight movements to the domestic industry.         

3. Cooperate on the establishment of a North American standard for proven fuel saving devices. The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a device called a “boat-tail” – an aerodynamic fairing attached to the back of a tractor-trailer combination that improves fuel efficiency by 6-8% – but no standard currently exists in Canada. The CTA says the adoption of similar standards by the two governments will not only reduce trucking costs and produce environmental benefits, but also help ensure the unimpeded flow of vehicles bearing these devices across the border.

“The work of the Regulatory Cooperation Council presents an important opportunity to address some fundamental, yet relatively simple issues that drive up the cost and impair the productivity of moving goods between Canada and the US,” says CTA CEO David Bradley.

While Bradley says the CTA is encouraged by the commitment shown to this process and to the Beyond Borders initiative by both Prime Minister Harper and President Obama, he cautions that “there is a lot of work to do even to resolve these relatively simple matters.” He says the will must exist in both countries and there are a lot of industries vying for their issues to receive attention. In addition, he says officials are still trying to determine where responsibility for certain issues – like in-transit shipments – should reside – with the RCC or the Beyond Borders Working Group. “These things are being sorted out,” he says. “From our perspective we really don’t care which forum will deal with them, as long as they are dealt with. We are and we will continue to work closely with the officials leading Canada’s team on both initiatives.”

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