U.S. To Experiment With Cross-Border Cargo Truck Pre-Inspection In Canada

By Tom Banse

The federal government announced a pilot project April 24 to pre-inspect some trucks before they cross into the U-S from Canada. That will have U.S. officers working on Canadian soil.

The ultimate goal here is to reduce congestion and wait times at busy border crossings. Michelle James is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection field operations director in Seattle. She says Canada has agreed to allow U.S. officers to staff a new inspection booth amongst the cargo trucks queuing at the Pacific Highway crossing near Blaine, Washington.

Michelle James: "What we're trying to do is identify if we do the pre-inspection in advance on the Canadian side, if there's no exam, can we allow for that truck to flow through that port without having to stop. In the end, what that may allow us to do is have less congestion at the border itself."

James says her agency will try cargo pre-inspection experimentally for about six months and then reevaluate. There's plenty of precedent for stationing customs and immigration officers on foreign soil. If you've come home from British Columbia by train, ferry or airliner lately, you probably went through U.S. passport control in Canada.

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