TORONTO, Ont. — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Buffalo and Lewiston, working in cooperation with the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, the Peace Bridge Authority and the Ontario Trucking Association, have introduced an incentive program for FAST registered drivers submitting e-Manifests a policy endorsed by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) in November.
The flexibility CBP officials at the Port of Buffalo and management at the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the Peace Bridge Authority are showing in finding ways to provide benefits to carriers and drivers that have made the investment in the various cross-border security initiatives, is good not only for those carriers and drivers, but also for improving the efficiency of border crossings,” says OTA president David Bradley. “In the absence of more participation by the companies whose goods we haul, this is a welcome measure.”
At the November board meeting of the OTA, discussion centred on how companies who have invested in C-TPAT and FAST have received minimal benefit unless they move auto-related product. OTA officials have said this is because of lack of interest in the FAST program from non-auto related shippers. The policy adopted at the November meeting by the OTA board calls upon Ontario bridge operators and local CBP to allow carriers to use the dedicated infrastructure, and possibly have CBP provide priority access to CBP primary, if the following conditions are met: they are C-TPAT approved carriers, utilizing FAST drivers, and submitting e-Manifests. OTA says it has always understood that this policy must be adaptable at each port and crossing, as each bridge has its own unique infrastructure and management challenges facing bridge operators and local US Customs.
Each bridge will have different criteria for carriers to take advantage of this incentive. The Queenston-Lewston Bridge will allow the following carriers to use the dedicated FAST-lane: C-TPAT carriers, FAST drivers, C-TPAT shipper (pure FAST); C-TPAT carriers and FAST drivers; and FAST drivers submitting e-Manifest.
At the Peace Bridge, preferential access to the staging yard will continue to be provided to pure FAST movements, as highlighted above and FAST drivers submitting e-Manifest.
According to CBP, in order to be eligible for the e-Manifest benefit, drivers must have a valid FAST card and provide proof that they are using an ACE e-Manifest. This proof will be supplied in the form of an appropriately annotated CBP Form 7533, an e-Manifest cover sheet, and/or appropriate screen of the activity.
OTA is strongly urging its carriers utilizing the Niagara crossings to educate their drivers on the change of policies at the two bridges.
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