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Today’s Pickup: U.S. and Canada to expand pre-clearance to cargo

The Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor is the busiest border crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Photo: Queens University

Good day,

Despite President Trump’s veiled threats about tariffs, his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 20 produced an important agreement with the potential to speed up cross-border supply chains. The two leaders said they will implement an existing agreement to expand pre-clearance operations between the U.S. and Canada – which would include cargo.

The 2015 Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance allows for U.S. and Canadian border officers to clear people and goods at sites within the country of origin, covering air, land and marine traffic. Currently, pre-clearance operations consist of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers screening U.S.-bound passengers traveling from nine major Canadian airports, several ferry lines and one rail station.

So far, cargo preclearance has been confined to several pilot projects. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has raised the prospect of having customs facilities attached to auto plants, allowing parts to be inspected and then sealed in containers. This has the prospect of making cross-border hauls much faster.

Did you know?

About 15 cargo theft incidents occur each day, according to the 2018 Global Cargo Theft Intelligence Report. Trucks accounted for 12 percent of the crimes during the year.


“It was one of my early mistakes, the first of many.”

– Peter Livanos, chairman of GasLog, on his decision to buy luxury car maker Aston Martin instead of his first ships. The Greek executive discussed how he entered the shipping business and his outlook on the industry at Marine Money Week in New York.

In Other News

Truck-related deaths rise by 3 percent

Preliminary National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that road fatalities involving trucks increased by 3 percent in 2018, despite a 1 percent decline among all vehicles. (Transport Topics)

Volvo Trucks wants to know pedestrians’ intentions

Volvo Trucks is using artificial intelligence to see if its possible to predict whether a pedestrian will cross a street. The initiative may also extend to cyclists and cars. (Forbes)

Canada’s Senate approves British Columbia tanker ban

Members of Canada’s Senate voted to approve a moratorium on large oil tankers operating on British Columbia’s northern coast. (Global News)

China, Armenia discuss transportation agreement

China and Armenia are working on an agreement to improve the movement of cargo between the two countries. (Armenian Mirrior-Spectator)

Illinois police use big rigs to fight distracted driving

State troopers in Illinois are riding in semi-trucks to spot distracted drivers. The officers are taking advantage of the truckers’ eye view to see the offenders. (CDL Life)

Final Thoughts

Pre-clearance of cargo could be a big deal for anyone involved in the movement of goods between the United States and Canada. But it will require a massive amount of investment from both countries, something that will have to be hashed out by lawmakers. A 2018 white paper, “Beyond Pre-Clearance: The Next Generation Canada-U.S. Border,” estimated that pre-clearance and other initiatives could save  $11.7 billion off the cost of moving goods each year.

Hammer down everyone!

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]