2004 critical for border: Bradley

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OTTAWA, Ont. — In a speech yesterday to Canada’s trade community, CTA CEO David Bradley cautioned against complacency in the face of border tie-ups.

"Complacency amongst our governments, the public and even the business community, is a major threat to our ability as Canadians to ensure that efficient borders are not sacrificed in the over-riding focus on security in the United States,” said Bradley, in his speech given at the Trade Corridors Conference held in Niagara-On-The-Lake.

While Bradley admitted progress has been made over the past couple of years, he said he is "concerned that the priority once attached to making sure our goods cross the border quickly is no longer on the public’s radar screen" and he is "afraid that with the momentum lost, the wheels of progress on a smart border may be grinding in the mud."

Bradley added 2004 will be a critical year when many of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new measures will likely be implemented.

"I would like to think that the recent delays in implementing the final rules or programs like electronic pre-notification of manifest data, or hazmat endorsements on commercial driver’s licenses, are a reflection of sober second thought, but I am not so optimistic. More likely it is a reflection of the morass and confusion that reigns within DHS. Congress has mandated that these things be done, but I’m not sure the folks charged with the responsibility of implementing are quite sure what to do. The costs have got to be astronomical, with the rewards somewhat questionable,” Bradley said.

But "security will continue to be the major focus of U.S. policy, and Canada has got to be a player,” Bradley added,
The CTA CEO also urged more of the trucking industry’s customers to become members of programs like FAST and C-TPAT.

"There is no bigger turn-off for a carrier to have gone to all the expense and effort of becoming registered for FAST and then have to sit in the line with everyone else because he is hauling a non-FAST load. More and more carriers are starting to charge for these delays and for the costs of complying with the security measures, and so they should,” said Bradley.

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