On December 7, 2011, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama released the Beyond the Border Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. As part of this action plan, Canada and the United States committed to developing a joint strategy to address risks associated with shipments arriving from offshore based on informed risk management. The Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (ICSS) will address security risks associated with inbound shipments from offshore and lead to expedited crossings at the land border.
The ICSS outlines how Canada and the U.S. will reduce duplication of efforts and processes, and work together offshore and at the physical border to facilitate the movement of secure cargo. It recognizes the importance of:
On October 1, 2012 the Prince Rupert, British Columbia pilot started, where Canada is examining offshore cargo (on behalf of the U.S.) which is destined to the U.S. via rail.
Our joint efforts will ultimately reduce barriers to trade, strengthening our economic competitiveness, job creation and prosperity, while increasing the security of our two countries.
The pilot will focus on in-transit containers arriving at the ports of Prince Rupert and transiting to the U.S. by rail through Canada. The U.S. National Targeting Centre (NTC) will risk-assess all in-transit cargo arriving at the Canadian port and identify the shipments of highest risk. The Canada Border Services Agency will be conducting examinations on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) for security and contraband.
Once the container is opened for examinations, border services officers will also be checking for wood packaging and soil infractions, meaning further protection for our forest industry and the great landscape of British Columbia. Any contraband or security concerns will be dealt with in Canada and information will be shared with the U.S. Examination results will also be shared via U.S. developed systems allowing for real-time sharing of information (both images and examination results). Containers will be secured with high security bolt seals for transit through Canada to the land border.
At the land border, U.S. CBP officers will see the high security bolt seal as well as know that risk has been negated, thereby eliminating the need for duplicate inspections. The Canadian NTC will continue to risk assess all cargo arriving as imports.