There's growing anxiety among truckers who haul cargo to the U.S. over impending layoffs of American border inspection staff.

Pre-inspection of U.S.-bound trucks to cut border waits

Truckers doubt much time to be gained through advance clearance, wary of U.S. cuts

U.S. customs officials will be allowed to operate on Canadian soil in Surrey to inspect southbound trucks approaching the Pacific Highway border crossing in a new effort to reduce wait times.

The six-month pilot project agreed to March 14 by federal, provincial and U.S. officials designates a pre-clearance area for U.S.-bound trucks that will then be fast-tracked when they actually get to the border.

Truckers heading south can face significant waits at the border to get inspected by U.S. agents.

But B.C. Trucking Association president and CEO Louise Yako isn’t yet convinced the new project will result in improved crossing times.

She noted a series of other border efficiency initiatives have already resulted in average southbound truck wait times at the Pacific Highway crossing being reduced over the past year from 52 minutes to a recent low of just 16 minutes.

“We’re not sure how much can be gained from this new process,” Yako said. “While we’re pleased Pacific Highway has been identified as a pilot, we don’t want this to erode the work that has already been done.”

Overhead lighting and new signs will be installed at the Highway 15 pre-inspection site nearing the border.

A more immediate concern for truckers is the impending budget-driven layoffs of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staff who carry out their inspections.

Yako said the industry is bracing for the impact of longer border waits starting in mid-April.

“There is a lot of concern among our members,” she said.

There’s talk of pursuing some sort of contingency plan, she said, if a worst-case scenario develops, partly crippling cross-border trucking for months.

The main hope is that U.S. legislators reach a speedy deal on budget reductions to avert the indiscriminate across-the-board cuts to federal departments that were recently triggered.

CBP officials in the U.S. had warned the peak waits at the busiest land crossings could double to five hours or more as a result of cuts in their department.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Harrison officials unveil reopening plan

As Phase 3 takes effect, village amenities, services resume

District residents split on Teacup property development

DOK survey indicates a close split in favour and against exclusion application

Chilliwack youth planning solidarity march against racism

Organizer hoping to ‘create a type of a energy in the city that we will not be silent about racism’

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

Fraser River freshet peak is coming soon

Predictions for 2020 by River Forecast Centre has the freshet peak at the Mission gauge for June 4-5

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Vancouver Island school principal mourns brother, cousin killed during U.S. protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read