Eleven new FAST and NEXUS crossings announced

OTTAWA (May 7, 2003) — After much lobbying by shippers and the trucking industry, the Canadian and U.S. governments will be expanding Free and Secure Trade (FAST) and NEXUS to several additional border point crossings between the two countries.

The plan, announced yesterday by Minister of National Revenue Elinor Caplan and U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner, will help expedite the flow of approved shipments across the border, officials said. Some major crossings have experienced delays since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and ongoing threats.

FAST is a harmonized program between Canadian and U.S. customs agencies and immigration departments. The program offers expedited clearance processes for pre-approved drivers and commercial shipments crossing the border, and provides a dedicated FAST lane for trucks wherever possible.

The new FAST crossings, expected to be ready by December, include: Rock Island-Stanstead, Qué./Derby Line, Vt.; St. Armand-de-Philipsburg, Qué./Highgate Springs, Vt.; Lansdowne, Ont./Alexandra Bay, N.Y; Emerson, Man./Pembina, N.D.; North Portal, Sask./Portal, N.D.; and Coutts, Alta./Sweetgrass, Mont. FAST will now available at 12 Canada-U.S. border crossings.

Officials have also responded to demands from drivers and fleets who have said the program needs more registration centres around the country. There will now be five new centres including: Woodstock, N.B./Houlton, Me., as well as the St. Armand-de-Philipsburg, Qué.; Emerson, Man.; North Portal, Sask.; and Coutts, Alta. crossings. The first joint FAST/NEXUS enrolment centre will also be set up on the Canadian side of the Fort Erie, Ont. border. It is expected to be complete in July.

The NEXUS program will also expand to Queenston, Ont./Lewiston, N.Y; and the Rainbow and Whirlpool bridges linking Southern Ontario and New York; as well as Lacolle, Qué./Champlain, N.Y; St. Armand-de-Philipsburg, Qué./Highgate Springs, Vt.; and Coutts, Alta./Sweetgrass, Mont. by September 2003.

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