OTA asking shippers to step up FAST

TORONTO, (Feb. 23, 2004) — While impressed with trucker participation in the Free and Secure Trade border-clearance program, the Ontario Trucking Association is delivering a message to shippers to mirror those efforts.

The OTA says the number of Ontario-based carriers that have been C-TPAT certified (the carrier component of FAST) is greater than the number of Ontario-based shippers involved in C-TPAT, and is asking the shipping community to step up to the plate with its trucking partners.

FAST is a bilateral program that offers expedited border clearance to pre-authorized importers, carriers, and drivers through designated lanes of traffic.

Following are some current participation numbers from each component of FAST for the northern border:

With an estimated 70,000 drivers routinely crossing the Canada-U.S. border, the FAST driver program has received 42,000 applications since the program’s inception, indicating widespread acceptance by the driving community. To date, there have been 11,500 cards issued to drivers, with an additional 17,000 being conditionally accepted pending the results of their interview with FAST officials.

Canadian carriers represent 65 per cent of the total number of carrier registrations. About 539 carriers inbound to the U.S. have registered, 352 of those have a Canadian address. About 167 registered are from Ontario. In comparison, 566 importer/shippers with Canadian addresses have registered, but only 142 from Ontario.

Canadian shippers that rely on U.S. buyers as a major source of revenue for their operations are encouraged to become involved in programs such as C-TPAT, as this will ensure that their products reach their U.S. destination during times of the most heightened security along the Canada-U.S. border, the OTA says.

The truck association has put together a specific web section that provides information on all aspects of the FAST program. Information in this section has been compiled from both U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Go to http://www.ontruck.org/info/information/border.php to access the site.

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