In an effort to pre-inspect truck-hauled cargo between the United States and Canada, the countries last week issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to launch a truck cargo pre-inspection pilot program in Canada.
“Our Government aims to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods and services at the Canada–U.S. border, as envisioned in the Beyond the Border Action Plan,” said Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, the Honorable Vic Toews in a statement. “The pilot…will test the concept of conducting primary inspection of U.S.-bound truck cargo in Canada in order to better manage our shared border and improve economic opportunities for Canadian manufacturers and their U.S.-based supply chain partners.”
This program is part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan between the U.S. and Canada, which was rolled out in January 2011. The plan’s objective is to make the countries more secure and economically competitive, as well as to spur the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between the two countries, according to the White House.
The Toronto Global and Mail reported that this plan is also intended to shift inspections and clearances away from actual border crossings so that shipments—once cleared and approved—can go directly to destinations.
“Our countries have made significant progress in implementing the initiatives of the Beyond the Border Action Plan,” said U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “The implementation of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot will aim to further enhance the economic and national security of both of our nations.”
U.S. CBP and Canada Ministry of Public Safety Officials were not available for comment at press time.
According to the concerns, the next steps for the entities are comprised of:
-Phase I to test the concept of conducting U.S. CBP primary cargo inspection in Canada, which will be implemented at the Pacific Highway crossing between Surrey, British Columbia and Blaine, Washington; and
-Phase II which will further test how pre-inspection could enhance border efficiency and reduce wait times to facilitate legitimate trade and travel, and will be implemented at the Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York.
They added that the Canadian and U.S. governments will continue to work closely with key stakeholders, noting that their views will be sought throughout the pilot project to help ensure its success.
“All I ‘read’ into this right now is, that CBP will try and do the same for cargo as they have done on the passenger side for a very long time at some Canadian airports: you clear immigration and U.S. Customs in Canada before you board the plane and thus arrive as ‘domestic’ flight in the USA,” said Albert Saphir, principal of ABS Consulting, in Bradenton, Florida.