ATA Urges Improvement to Border Infrastructure and Procedures
Speaking on behalf of the ATA, Celadon Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Stephen Russell told the House Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, House Homeland Security Committee on October 22, that improving the security and efficiency of freight transportation across borders will require more infrastructure funds, more reasonable enforcement of trade security program rules, and giving the lead role in coordinating federal efforts to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. Russell praised the development of low-risk and trusted-traveler programs such as Free and Secure Trade (FAST) and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program (C-TPAT), but said that expanding the lanes at border facilities was necessary. "The biggest challenge trucking companies continue to face with the C-TPAT/FAST program is the lack of ‘true’ FAST lanes," said Russell. "This results in low-risk C-TPAT carriers being stuck in the same traffic as non-C-TPAT certified carriers."
Russell also suggested that a C-TPAT carrier not be suspended from the program when a security incident occurs unless an investigation shows the carrier willfully disregarded C-TPAT Minimum Security Criteria. Finally, ATA praised development of Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), an electronic manifest system that captures trade data and recommended that the U.S. government quickly implement the Smart Border Accord between the U.S. and Canada, the 22 Point Plan between the U.S. and Mexico, and recommendations of the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership.