A truck cargo pre-inspection pilot project is underway to reduce wait times for trucks at the Pacific Highway crossing between Surrey, B.C. and Blaine, Washington state.
"Improving border efficiency and reducing wait times are critical for trucking companies that function in a highly competitive marketplace and whose drivers are bound by strict hours-of-service rules. We welcome this and other initiatives aimed at streamlining customs and border procedures and will be watching carefully to ensure it contributes to those goals," said Louise Yako, president and CEO, BC Trucking Association.
The pilot project will establish a pre-clearance area for U.S.-bound trucks for pre-inspection of cargo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Canadian soil. The pre-cleared trucks will be fast- tracked through a designated lane at the formal border.
"Cross-border traffic is so vital to a robust B.C. economy. We will monitor this pilot closely because it is another way we can continue our work with Washington State and the Canadian and U.S. federal governments and the BC Trucking Association to increase trade and reduce congestion at the Canada/U.S. border," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak.
Federal Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 14, for the pre-inspection pilot to be conducted on Canadian soil for truck cargo moving to the United States over the next six months.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the City of Surrey have entered into a MOU with Transport Canada to support the project. The land will be designated under the Preclearance Act as an area where the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency staff can work. The ministry will also expand the existing overhead lighting and install signage.