Truckers Concerned Over Pre-Notification Rules

In a statement last week, Graves said, "We have concerns over how the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection intends to communicate directly and in a timely fashion with motor carriers and their drivers, giving them the OK to proceed to a port of entry once their cargo has been cleared." Noting that there are 13 million truck crossings per year at the U.S. northern border and 8 million at the southern border, American Trucking Associations (ATA) President Bill Graves cautioned that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would need to provide a "go" or "no go" decision as soon as possible to prevent disruptions in the timely flow of goods. Pre-notification rules go into effect December 5th, requiring electronic manifests to be filed with CBP one hour prior to arrival in the U.S. (except shipments covered by the FAST - Free and Secure Trade - process which require only 30 minutes' pre-notification).

"We [motor carriers] move 69% of the value of freight between the U.S. and Canada and about 81% of the value of U.S.-Mexico freight," Graves said. He pointed out that 80% of the motor carrier industry is made up of carriers with five or fewer trucks. "The vast majority of these carriers are likely less sophisticated in the use of information technology," he added. Graves' comment reflects the experience of ocean freight shippers, forwarders, and carriers when similar pre-notification rules went into effect for ocean shipments last year. The industry responded quickly and, through close cooperation with CBP, was able to comply with pre-notification requirements.

Similar filing requirements govern exports, requiring motor carriers to provide one-hour notice before arriving at the U.S. border. Air, ocean, and rail shipments are also covered by pre-notification filings on both imports and exports.

Ocean shipments require pre-notification 24 hours before the lading at the foreign port for imports bound for the U.S. and 24-hour notice prior to vessel departure for exports from the U.S.

Rail shipments require notice two hours prior to arrival at the U.S. port of entry or four hours' notice prior to attachment of the engine that will take the shipment across the border for exports.

Air and courier shipments require notice four hours before arrival in the U.S. or "wheels up: from certain nearby areas. The rule for exports is two hours' notice prior to scheduled departure from the U.S.

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