At long last, after fifteen years of high level negotiations between the trucking industry and border officials from Canada and the United States, the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agency is moving forward on a plan to restore Canadian shipments in-transit through the United States.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) welcomes the publication of a US Federal Register Notice outlining the details of the long-awaited in-transit pilot program, a key plank in the Canada-US Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plan. The pilot sets the stage for restoration of the ability for Canadian carriers to conduct in-transit shipments through the United States using a limited set of data when crossing the border.
The Alliance, a federation of the provincial trucking associations representing over 4,500 trucking companies from across Canada, has been lobbying for changes to strict data requirements held up by US Customs and Border Protection since 2005.
CTA president David Bradley says this is another example of CTA’s persistence paying off. “Ever since 9/11 we have been working to restore in-transit shipments. We stuck with it and today we were rewarded for all the hard work,” he says. He also credits the support received from Canadian BTB officials, the American Trucking Associations and in recent years from US officials in the White House and USCBP for bringing about the change.
It was once common for Canadian carriers moving loads across Canada to use U.S. routes in-transit. Since the goods were not entering the United States for consumption or being offloaded or stored, they were considered domestic Canadian loads and could therefore enter with minimal documentation. However, after 9/11 in-transit shipments were treated as international loads by USCBP, subject to full documentation. Meanwhile, Canada did not mirror the change, which allowed in-transit moves through Canada by US carriers to continue, creating an uneven playing field for Canadian carriers wishing to move in-transit shipments through the United States.
In October 2014, CTA helped bring about an agreement between Canadian and U.S. customs agencies which would have limited the data required for domestic goods transiting through the other country. Specifically, the data element concerning the “value” of the in-transit goods remained the sticking point. CBP accepted a CTA proposal to allow Canadian carriers who are not able to provide a specific value to designate a default value of $95,000.00 to the shipment.
Industry has been waiting for the Federal Register Notice since October 2014. A comment period of 30 days follows the published FRN and once closed, USCBP will launch the pilot under the new ‘default value’ allowance. It will involving up to nine carriers to begin moving goods in-transit through designated US ports. If successful, the pilot will likely be expanded to include additional carriers at some point.