Get with the FAST program, CTA chief urges
Jul 1, 2003 12:00 PM
In a speech to a joint conference of the Phoenix AZ-based Border Trade Alliance and the Canadian Association of Importers & Exporters, David Bradley, chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), called on the trade community to get behind new programs designed to speed up border clearance.
Bradley told delegates meeting in Windsor, Ontario, “The single most important program to come out of the ManleyRidge Smart Border Declaration is the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program. The message from the customs agencies on both sides of the border is clear: become a member of FAST, or sit.” FAST is a bilateral Canada-United States system of electronic pre-clearance of low-risk goods, shipped by low-risk and pre-approved importers, exporters, carriers, drivers, and goods.
“The number of US and Canadian carriers that have registered for the FAST program is growing,” he said, “but even if you are a FAST carrier, if your load is being delivered on the part of a non-FAST shipper, you'll sit.”
He cited figures showing that about 2000 US and 90 Canadian importers had applied for FAST approval, with 540 and two approved, respectively. About 270 carriers have been conditionally approved by the US Customs & Border Protection Agency. The Canada Customs & Revenue Agency has qualified around 100 of the 227 carriers presently in the pipeline.
Bradley said the costs of border delays “cannot and should not be borne by a carrier that has joined FAST and has made the necessary investments in security under the US Customs Trade Protection Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) or the Canadian Partner in Protection (PIP) programs. We are beginning to see carriers charging shippers for these delays either through security surcharges, as ancillary costs, or through differential rates for FAST-Non-FAST customers.”
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