Pilot Program Could Speed Canadian Border Crossings for Truckers

March 20, 2014

Passport to Canada

A recently announced pre-inspection pilot program could speed border crossings for truck drivers carrying loads between the U.S. and Canada. The one-year pilot program will be conducted only at the Peace Bridge crossing which spans the Niagara River between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York, connecting to I-190. If the program is successful, it could be expanded to other Canadian-U.S. border crossings after the pilot program ends.

The pilot program is completely voluntary but is only open to drivers with a working transponder who have prepaid their fees before entering the border crossing. Drivers should realize that this is not a one-time pre-approval process. Every time you cross the border you will need to decide whether or not you want to participate. And you can choose to participate for some crossings but not others. If you don't participate, you'll go follow the regular border crossing procedures.

How It Works

Drivers who choose to participate will enter a separate lane and drive slowly between two radiation scanners. If your load is passed, you will proceed to a drive-through customs booth where you will present the regular customs documentation (ID, e-manifest, etc.) for inspection. If everything is in order, you will be given a pink pass that allows you to enter a special pre-inspection lane when you reach the other side of the bridge and continue on your way without further delay. (Click here to watch a video by the Ontario Trucking Association showing how the pilot program works.)

Beyond the Border

Details of the pilot program, first outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan, have been under negotiation for some years. According to Truck News, the goal of the pilot program is to "allow for more thorough and efficient vehicle inspections." But the program is also expected to prevent backups on the bridge and speed truck passage between the U.S. and our neighbor to the north.

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