The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) – as a part of a coalition of Canada-U.S. trucking industry associations, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA), National Tank Trucking Carriers, Inc. (NTTC), and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) – is requesting the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, and U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David L. Cohen, work bilaterally to ensure reciprocal treatment, and remove unnecessary trade barriers for cross-border operators and truck drivers, considering the importance of Canada-U.S. trade and the enormous amount of freight moving between our two countries.
In its correspondence, the coalition highlighted misaligning trade policies such as the need to establish a permanent U.S. in-transit program for Canadian carriers, which has remained in a pilot with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since 2016. Prior to 9/11, the use of in-transit movements remained common for Canadian fleets, allowing for access to suitable infrastructure, reduced transit times and operational flexibility. The ability to move in-transit continues to remain in place for all U.S. fleets and is instrumental to deliveries into Alaska, and to the supply chains in the U.S. mid-west, eastern Michigan, and Northeastern U.S.
The importance of a permanent in-transit program was underscored during the B.C. floods situation in 2021, where both countries came together to quickly implement a temporary in-transit process to assist with goods delivery and recovery efforts in the province. This crisis further reinforced the importance of implementing a permanent bilateral solution.
The coalition also reiterated its multiple requests to have U.S. border vaccine restrictions removed, emphasizing the importance of increased truck capacity to support supply chains and U.S. based businesses, and that unifying border rules for all truck drivers crossing the border was a simple and long-overdue change considering the current state and perception of the pandemic in both countries.
Other issues that were highlighted included the need to address the bilateral dispute around the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) enrolment process; addressing pandemic related backlogs for obtaining B1/B2 visas, which continue to hinder the ability of some truck drivers to cross the border for work purposes; and other historical supply chain inefficiencies that continue to exist between both countries.
“Alignment on these bilateral policies will serve to increase the usable capacity of Canadian-based trucking fleets and all cross-border operators supporting our integrated economies. They will also act as a potential hedge against further supply chain disruptions and driver shortages being experienced in both countries,” says Lak Shoan, Director of Policy and Industry Awareness Programs for the CTA.