Trucking associations turn to ambassadors to help end Canada, U.S. trade barriers

Several of North America’s largest trucking associations are calling on Canadian and U.S. ambassadors to help remove unnecessary trade barriers for cross-border operators and truck drivers.

Related letters – signed by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), American Trucking Associations (ATA), National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC), and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) – have been sent to Canada’s U.S. Ambassador, Kirsten Hillman, and U.S. Ambassador to Canada David L. Cohen.

The coalition of industry groups highlighted issues like the need to establish a permanent U.S. in-transit program for Canadian carriers, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection has run as a pilot project since 2016. In-transit moves were common for Canadian fleets prior to 9/11, and all U.S. fleets continue the practice.

B.C. floods underscored the value of a permanent in-transit in 2021, when a temporary in-transit process was implemented to help deliver goods and support recovery efforts, CTA notes.

The groups also repeated requests to remove U.S. border vaccine restrictions, adding that unified border rules were overdue given broad approaches to the pandemic.

Other highlighted issues included a bilateral dispute around the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) enrolment process; pandemic-related backlogs for B1/B2 visas, which continue to hinder the ability of some truck drivers to cross the border for work; and other supply chain inefficiencies.

“Alignment on these bilateral policies will serve to increase the usable capacity of Canadian-based trucking fleets and all cross-border operators supporting our integrated economies. They will also act as a potential hedge against further supply chain disruptions and driver shortages being experienced in both countries,” says Lak Shoan, CTA director – policy and industry awareness programs.