CTA chief tells shippers to get with the program FAST

WINDSOR, Ont. (June 6, 2003) — Canadian Trucking Alliance CEO David Bradley called on carriers and shippers to register for Free & Secure Trade or risk increased scrutiny and slower entry into the U.S. or Canada.

FAST is a bilateral, electronic pre-clearance program between Canadian and U.S. customs agencies and immigration departments. The program offers pre-approved shippers, carriers, and drivers expedited clearance processes for commercial shipments crossing the border both north and south and provides a FAST lane for trucks wherever possible.

“The message from the customs agencies on both sides of the border is clear – become a member of FAST, or sit,” Bradley said in a speech to a joint conference of the Phoenix, Ariz.-based Border Trade Alliance and the Canadian Association of Importers & Exporters in Windsor, Ont., the home of the world’s busiest trade gateway. “Even if you are a FAST carrier, if your load is being delivered on the part of a non-FAST shipper, you’ll sit.”

Bradley cited figures showing that at the present time about 2000 U.S., and 90 Canadian importers, had applied for FAST approval, with 540 and 2 approved, respectively. About 270 carriers have been conditionally approved by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Agency. The Canada Customs & Revenue Agency has qualified around 100 of the 227 carriers presently in the pipeline.

He said added the costs of border delays should not be borne by only the carrier. “We are beginning to see carriers charging shippers for these delays either through security surcharges, as ancillary costs, or through differential rates for FAST-Non-FAST customers,” he said.

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