An agreement between the United States and Canada to align some of their customs procedures appears to be helping expedite movement at three major border crossings.
The agreement, known as FAST (the joint U.S. and Canadian Free and Secure Trade initiative), is now in effect at the Detroit/Windsor, Ontario; Port Huron, Mich./Sarnia, Ontario; and Buffalo, N.Y./Fort Erie, Ontario, border crossings, according to the U.S. Customs Service. The FAST lane program is expediting trade through these three locations, which are responsible for processing more than 20,000 inbound and outbound commercial trucks per day—representing more than 40 percent of trade between the United States and Canada, according to a news release from the Customs Service. This month,the FAST lane program will be extended farther west along the U.S.-Canada border, to Blaine,Wash./Douglas, British Columbia,and to the east,at Champlain, N.Y./Lacolle, Quebec.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was announced last September, the United States and Canada are harmonizing commercial processes for clearing low-risk shipments. To be eligible for the FAST lane, a shipment must be destined for an importer enrolled in the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), transported by a carrier enrolled in C-TPAT and driven by a registered driver in possession of a valid FAST-Commercial Driver Card. Importers have to complete separate applications for the customs authorities in each country, and carriers and drivers must complete a single application.