New pre-note rules not so livable after all: CTA

OTTAWA, (Aug. 26, 2002) — The Canadian Trucking Alliance is saying that while it believes a new ruling on Required Advance Electronic Presentation of Cargo Information is more acceptable than a “strawman” proposal floated earlier this year, it still finds the new rules problematic in several areas.

The CTA remains concerned that the new proposed timeframes to pre-notify U.S. Customs and Border Protection of U.S.-bound cargo will continue to hamper just-in-time freight. Under the proposed ruling, FAST shipments would require 30 minutes pre-notification and one hour notice for non-fast shipments. The final rules will be announced by CBP on October 1, 2003.

While those timeframes are significantly shorter than those suggested in the strawman proposal — which would have required both shippers and carriers to submit cargo data to U.S. Customs four hours before a truck is loaded in Canada for shipment to the U.S., and 24 hours prior to loading a truck in the U.S. destined for Canada — CTA has recommended that CBP change the ruling to 15 minutes for FAST shipments and 30 minutes for non-FAST.

The alliance argues that because “the clock starts ticking” only when CBP receives electronic transmission of the cargo, the timeframes still impede many carriers based within an hour drive of the border. Moreover, carriers face the added difficulty of not knowing whether all of the necessary data, supplied by the carrier or another party, has been transmitted and reviewed to CBP within allowable time frames. If even one of the multiple parties involved in a shipment fails to meet its responsibilities within the specified time frames, the potential exists to have the truck turned back at the border, the CTA says.

Other issues the CTA is raising with CBP include:

CBP/FDA Interface: CTA remains concerned that there is still no common interface between CBP’s rules and the Food and Drug Administration’s impending prior notice requirements for food imports. The dual system would require two different advance reporting time frames, subject to different data requirements supplied by different parties, and reported through two separate information systems.

Economic Costs: CTA adds the economic analysis used to support the rule is seriously flawed. In the Federal Register, CBP indicates that data entry under the new rules “could represent a significant cost.” Yet, on the other hand, it states that “this rule will impose a small capital cost (fax machine for firms that do not already own a fax machine), and a per transmission cost.” Furthermore, the economic analysis only looks at the costs to U.S. carriers.

Implementation: The implementation of the advance cargo information requirements will require many carriers to significantly alter long-established practices and procedures for moving cargo across the border, CTA says. Because CBP’s own analysis suggests 60 per cent of truck cargo still arrives at the border with “manually presented hard copy,” the CTA is lobbying for an extensive outreach program to educate carriers, brokers, importers and shippers to the new electronic requirements.

The entire text of CTA’s submission to CBP including a number of technical matters and concerns over the treatment of certain intermodal shipments can be found at www.cantruck.com/f_media-e.html.

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