USDA backtracks on APHIS fee increase

OTTAWA — The Canadian Trucking Alliance is applauding a decision by the Americans to cancel an increase to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspection fee by nearly 15 percent.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its withdrawal is based on concerned comments from industry and stakeholders it received.

The fee, which increases the rate for commercial trucks from US$5.25 to US$6.00 per trip; and commercial truck transponders from US$105 per annum to US$120, was slated to kick-in this week after already being postponed from Oct. 1.

USDA said the increase was needed to restore user fee collections for commercial vehicles and air passengers that have diminished as a result of decreased travel volume.

CTA boss David Bradley had called the rationale for the hike "ludicrous," and "nothing but a cash grab."

The trucking group was one of the first and most vocal groups opposing the increase. Bradley now says this most recent USDA announcement is "the right thing to do" but added that “it never should have got to this stage."

Bradley said that CTA will continue to pursue the issue of the application of the APHIS fee on all shipments.

“It is patently unfair and inappropriate that all trucks, regardless of whether their cargo is auto parts or agricultural products should have to pay APHIS fees in the first place,” added Bradley.

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