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New program allows U.S. customs officers to inspect US-bound trucks in Canada

FORT ERIE, Ont. - Canada and the U.S. have launched a pilot program that allows American customs officers to inspect U.S.-bound cargo trucks in Canada, a move both countries hope will expedite the flow of trade and travel.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney and U.S. Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were at the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ont., and Buffalo, N.Y., for the program's start Monday.

Authorities will watch to see whether it reduces congestion and pollution-causing idling on the bridge, which handles more than one million truck crossings yearly and sees frequent bumper-to-bumper backups.

U.S. customs officers can now inspect trucks at the roomier Canadian plaza before sending them across the bridge, where another officer either sends them on or conducts a secondary inspection.

The pilot program, similar to one begun at the Pacific Highway Crossing in British Columbia, will last up to a year.

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