Leaders of the Departments of Homeland Security and State joined Canadian officials at the opening of the second phase of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Cargo Pre-inspection Pilot program on Feb. 24. This phase is being conducted at the Peace Bridge crossing in Buffalo, NY, opposite Fort Erie, Ontario.
Under the Cargo Pre-inspection Pilot program, commercial trucks with transponders entering the U.S. can use a dedicated pre-inspection commercial primary booth in Canada. CBP officers conduct radiation screening and primary cargo processing on the Canadian side. Secondary inspections, when required, continue in the U.S. The pre-inspection pilot began last June with Phase I at the cargo facility of the Pacific Highway crossing between Blaine, Wash., and Surrey, British Columbia. The pilot program was coordinated under the U.S.-Canada “Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness” initiative.
“The commencement of this pilot is another key Beyond the Border success,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who attended the Phase II opening. “The joint efforts of the United States and Canada are critically important for expediting the secure flow of commerce and improving the economic opportunity of our two countries.”
Phase II will test the impact of pre-inspection in Canada on wait times, border congestion and trade facilitation. The Buffalo-Fort Erie pilot will continue for up to one year and will operate Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All commercial trucks with a current transponder will be eligible to use the two pre-inspection booths at the Canadian customs plaza. Trucks that do not want to participate can enter through any general cargo lane for processing and clearance in the U.S.
The initiative, signed on Feb. 4, 2011, by President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, recognizes that the economic and border security interests of the U.S. and Canada are intertwined. According to the Beyond the Border declaration, nearly $1 million in goods and services and approximately 300,000 people cross the U.S.-Canadian border every day.
The Feb. 24 opening of the Fort Erie Phase II Cargo Pre-inspection Pilot site was attended by DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas; DHS Assistant Secretary of International Affairs Alan Bersin; CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Kevin McAleenan; CBP Office of Field Operations Acting Assistant Commissioner Susan Mitchell; U.S. Consul General James Dickmeyer; U.S. Embassy Charge de Affairs Richard Sanders; CBP Buffalo Director of Field Operations Randy Howe; Canadian Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney; Canadian Minister of National Defense Robert Nicholson; Canadian Deputy Minister of Public Safety Francois Guimont; Canada Border Services Agency Regional Director Richard Comerford; and Canadian Consul General John Prato.
Key trade stakeholders also participated: Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance Jim Phillips; Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority Chair Anthony Annunziata; and Peace Bridge Authority General Manager Ron Reinas.
Please submit comments and questions regarding Phase II of this pilot to: BuffaloCargoPilot@cbp.dhs.gov