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OTA credits smooth operation of CBSA security policy to association’s education campaign

TORONTO, Ont. -- The OTA is taking partial credit for the successful implementation of the new Canada Border Servic...

TORONTO, Ont. — The OTA is taking partial credit for the successful implementation of the new Canada Border Services Agency security enhancement policy because it has been educating its members on ways to eliminate border delays due to failed PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System) transactions. The policy, which can into effect Apr. 1, mandates carriers to use line release customs clearance at the border.

Following the CBSA announcement indicating that failed PARS shipments would be returned to the US, the OTA board developed a position regarding CBSA enforcement of the policy and a communication strategy targeting shippers who utilize underperforming custom brokers. The OTA says that while the trucking industry can partially share in the blame for this problem, experience has shown that PARS failures are also often the result of customs brokers not filing entries in a timely manner.

The association had previously put together a communication campaign for the carriers to educate their shippers on the need to utilize high performing custom brokers, and OTA president David Bradley says that based on a recent survey of their membership, the shipping industry is responding.

The OTA survey found that after carriers met with their customers to explain the issue of a poor performing brokers impact on their operations, shippers began making changes with regards to their management and selection of custom brokers.

“Historically failed PARS transactions at the Detroit-Windsor crossing saw upwards of 400 to 500 trucks per day being referred to the offsite inspection facility. Carriers can not afford increased costs associated with this new policy, Bradley says. Failed PARS due to inadequate broker service levels will result in everyones costs increasing. Those shippers who choose not to manage the performance of their custom broker are risking the exposure of their freight to significant border delays and increased costs from their transportation suppliers.

CBSA, at the request of OTA, is providing those carriers who arrive with failed PARS transactions with documentation outlining the time and date when their vehicle was returned to the US. The OTA says it is hopeful that trucking companies will be able to utilize this document with their customers to discuss levels of compensation for lost driver and equipment productivity for vehicles being returned to the US with on-board freight.

To assist carriers in selecting a custom broker, the OTA has compiled a checklist of variables for their use. The following are selection criteria that the OTA says should be utilized in selecting a custom broker:

-Uses EDI;
-Provides 24/7 service , either directly or though a sub-agent;
-Has Web site and/or toll free phone number available for carriers/dispatch/drivers to check status of shipments prior to arrival at port of entry;
-Communicates with Importer of Record, shipper, vendor, etc. to encourage and facilitate obtaining proper documents to prepare customs clearance well in advance of arrival at port of entry;
-Committed to high quality of data submitted to CBSA/OGD to reduce the number of administrative rejects and unnecessary delays in processing;
-Committed to technology improvements required to keep pace with latest custom requirements;
-Employs experienced personnel, with CCSs (Certified Customs Specialists) on staff;
-Has contingency plans in place to avoid delays in processing in the case of system outages, etc;
-Is the Broker willing and able to give references.

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