Free and Secure Trade
Expansion Recommendation Report – Executive Summary
On , the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States (US) issued Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, and a joint Action Plan was developed.
As part of the Action Plan, the CBSA committed to extending Free and Secure Trade (FAST) benefits to members of supply chain security programs at agreed locations and to enhance facilities to support trusted trader programs. The CBSA also agreed to conduct a review of the FAST program to determine if future investments were warranted, and at which locations.
The FAST program is a joint Canada-US initiative that provides trusted traders with expedited movement of their goods through dedicated lanes/booths. The requirements for receiving FAST benefits are asymmetrical between the two countries. To benefit from FAST lanes/booths when entering Canada, importers and carriers must be both Partners in Protection (PIP) and Customs Self-Assessment (CSA) members. Drivers must be FAST or Commercial Driver Registration Program (CDRP) approved, and the load must consist of eligible goods from the United States or Mexico.
As part of its commitment to extending FAST benefits, the CBSA conducted a pilot in Sarnia, Ontario, from October 2012 to April 2013, to assess the feasibility and benefits of expanding the use of the FAST lane to include CSA-only and PIP-only clients. Although participation in the pilot was lower than expected, analysis conducted on the data suggests minimal impact on existing FAST lane users by expanding FAST lane use to PIP-only and CSA-only members at the port of Sarnia. Expanding FAST lane eligibility would allow all trusted traders to benefit from reduced border wait times by being able to access the FAST lane and bypass border congestion, thus lowering the cost of doing business across the border. However, several CBSA system changes would need to occur prior to implementation. Ongoing monitoring of lane use will occur in order to be able to address any negative impacts, should they occur.
To meet its commitment to enhance current facilities and determine where future investments are warranted, the CBSA also conducted a FAST infrastructure review in the fall of 2012, which focused on evaluating the top ten ports as measured by the number of commercial releases in the highway mode. It reviewed the functionality of the commercial FAST lanes/booths at their current locations and used performance metrics and qualitative analysis to examine possible locations for future expansion.
Three sites were identified for potential expansion/modification: Fort Erie, Ontario; Pacific Highway, British Columbia; and Emerson, Manitoba.
The following recommendations are being made as a result of the Sarnia pilot and the FAST Infrastructure Review:
Recommendations on Expansion of the FAST benefits
- Extend FAST benefits to PIP-only and CSA-only members. It is recommended that this be implemented at Pacific Highway and Sarnia and at the two expansion sites, Fort Erie and Emerson. FAST benefit expansion to PIP-only and CSA-only members is not recommended at Windsor at this time.
- To achieve this recommendation, CBSA system changes with respect to pre-arrival and front-line notifications will need to be in place.
Recommendations on FAST Infrastructure Expansion
- Open a FAST lane and booth at Fort Erie by converting an existing commercial booth and its corresponding lane to a dedicated FAST lane and booth during specific time periods. Traffic flow will be managed via light emitting diode (LED) variable message signage.
- Install a "FAST-1st" configuration at Pacific Highway, by way of a modified version of the southbound lighting and queuing system currently in operation.
- Include a FAST lane and booth in the Emerson port re-design project. The “FAST-1st” model proposed for Pacific Highway would also best suit the port of Emerson.
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