OTTAWA, Ont. — The CTA wants U.S. Customs to push back the enforcement deadline for cargo prenotification, because not enough drivers are registered yet under FAST. Truck drivers currently using the popular line release program BRASS face the prospect of being denied entry to the U.S. as of Jan. 30, if they are not Free and Secure Trade program card carriers.
While the CTA favours using the FAST program as a platform for a host of new U.S. security measures and accepts the necessity of compliance deadlines, the system has been flooded with applications, and there is no realistic way that enough drivers will be ready to handle the volume of freight moving by BRASS by the Jan. 30 deadline, say officials.
"It is our understanding that around 70,000 of the 87,000 or so drivers involved in cross-border trucking have applied for FAST registration, indicating that the trucking industry is making an honest and concerted attempt to comply." said Alliance CEO David Bradley. "But to date, less than 30,000 of those drivers have completed the process, leaving more than 40,000 drivers at various stages of processing. Since it is presently taking 8 to 12 weeks for the governments to fully process an application, the potential for a serious disruption to trade is very real."
The CTA says U.S. and Canadian security officials should extend the Jan. 30 deadline for full enforcement, speed up the implementation process for portable enrollment centres, and review the staffing and hours of service at permanent enrollment centres.
CTA is also calling on U.S. Customs to examine the procedures under which it assesses monetary penalties for non-compliance with advance cargo information rules. According to CTA, carriers cannot always verify shipment data has been submitted to CBP in a timely fashion by customs brokers. Carriers can then be fined over something they can’t control, and if they choose to try and get CBP to drop the fines they end up in a lengthy penalty mitigation process.
“There have to be sanctions in place to ensure compliance, but carriers should not have to bear the cost of other parties’ mistakes. A better mechanism is needed to allow carriers to know when brokers have filed customs entries, and who is responsible for violations. This should be worked out before CBP issues further penalties,” said Bradley.
Bradley said he raised this matter with the outgoing U.S. homeland security secretary last month in Detroit and received a "favourable reception" at that time.
"Let there be no misunderstanding CTA is not seeking to duck its responsibilities. All we are asking is that CBP take a hard look at some of the practical problems with implementation of the U.S. Trade Act, and make the necessary changes so that trade can flow in a secure and efficient manner,” Bradley said.
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