OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) says it has earned a pair of regulatory victories on behalf of the Canadian trucking industry.
The CTA has won Canadian carriers some increased flexibility in using foreign trailers and containers in cross-border movements, thanks to a condition in the federal ‘Budget Implementation Act.’ The legislation removed what the CTA refers to as an “arcane” provision in the Customs Tariff section that prevented Canadian carriers from using containers and trailers on cross-border moves into Canada if the equipment was owned by a company outside the country.
As a result, Canadian carriers were unable to use foreign-owned trailers for cross-border moves. CTA says it has been lobbying against the rule for years.
“This particular measure was buried deep in the budget’s Notice of Ways & Means and the wording was so subtle, we were not sure if it was what we thought it was. We have now confirmed with the Department of Finance that indeed it is what we have been seeking,” said CTA CEO David Bradley. “This has been an irritant for some time; in some cases Canadian carriers were forced to turn over business to American counterparts. The measures passed yesterday address this problem and put our carriers on an equal footing with their US counterparts.”
The CTA warns that the changes do not allow for the use of foreign-owned trucking equipment in domestic operations.
Meanwhile, CTA has also convinced the US Department of Agriculture to back off its declaration requirements for wood and plant products, which the lobby group says would have required Customs brokers and importers to declare the genus, species and country of origin of all goods entering the US containing plant or wood products.
The CTA had lobbied that the requirement, passed by Congress in 2008, would have held up trucks containing wood or plant products at the border while Customs completed more onerous paperwork. The paper declaration would even extend to the boxes goods are shipped in and paper lunch bags carried by drivers, according to the CTA.
The CTA submitted a number of recommendations to the USDA, which have since been adopted. They include: the ability to move freight that is not accompanied by a declaration inland and away from the border; exceptions for goods moving under bond; and consideration for goods accompanying commercial drivers as personal effects.
“The adoption of these measures by USDA should provide some relief for carriers from most of the negative aspects associated with the Lacey Act,” says David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “In that sense we are pleased and grateful for their consideration. However, it underscores once again how we must remain constantly vigilant to ensure that a proper balance between security and trade is maintained at the northern border.”