OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has voiced concerns about supply chain disruptions that could result from US requirements that wood packaging materials such as pallets be treated for bugs before crossing the border.
The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a proposed rule in December that would eliminate a Canadian exemption on the treatment of pallets and dunnage entering the US, requiring them to be heat or chemically treated to eliminate the spread of harmful insects.
Current rules do not apply to products coming from Canada. According to the US Department of Agriculture, about 320 million pallets are used every year to transport goods across the Canada/US border. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has said it would also eliminate a US exemption for pallets entering Canada from the US. The whole thing has the CTA worried about more border backups.
“CTA takes no position on the science behind the decision to eliminate the exemption,” said CTA chief David Bradley. “Canada and the US share a common interest in protecting our forest resources, and if this means treatment of pallets and dunnage, then so be it. But at the same time, CTA’s discussions with industry and government officials have made it abundantly clear that we are simply not ready at this time to ensure that there is an adequate supply of treated WPM in circulation to meet the demands of Canada-US trade, and nor has APHIS outlined detailed plans on how it will apply and enforce the rules at the border.”
In a written statement to APHIS, the trucking group said enforcement should not begin until there are enough compliant pallets in circulation to meet demands.
“CTA is not trying to be obstructive, and we welcome the opportunity to work with officials in both Canada and the US on how to implement this change without disrupting trade,” said Bradley. “CTA has seen too many examples in recent years where new measures affecting the border have been rushed, only to be withdrawn at the 11th hour when it became apparent that they were unworkable. Let’s just take the time to get this right.”