Canuck truckers applaud US port security flexibility

OTTAWA — Moves by the US Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration to ease the transition to tighter US port security requirements are being applauded by Canadian truckers.

Over the past several months, the U.S. has phased in requirements for the so-called Transportation Worker Identity Credential, or TWIC, for individuals requiring access to secure port facilities — including truck drivers from Canada.

Thanks to lobbying by the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the two US agencies had been allowing Canadian drivers with FAST cards unescorted access to US marine facilities — at the discretion of the facility operator — if they can demonstrate that a TWIC had been applied for.

That policy was set to end last week, but in response to concerns raised over processing times for Canadian drivers, it will now remain in effect until mid-July. 

"The flexibility shown by US authorities in this matter is to be commended,” commented CTA vice president Ron Lennox. “It seemed fairly clear to us that there were issues regarding the processing of applications from foreign drivers, which in some cases ran to many months. Allowing marine facilities the discretion to permit unescorted access while these issues get addressed is a reasonable step that allows commerce to continue to flow without compromising security.”

CTA continues to support a longer-term solution that would allow security screened drivers unescorted access all US marine facilities while a TWIC application is being processed.

"Trucking is a high turnover industry, and we should be looking at ways to ensure that individuals who have already been security screened are not excluded from certain facilities while they wait for an administrative process to run its course," noted Lennox.

As reported this week, Canadian ports are prepping for similar security credentials for truckers. 

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