A perfect storm of sorts has been
forming along the U.S.-Canada border in recent days, creating longer than usual
delays for truckers and others crossing the boundary between the two nations.
some areas, media outlets reported backups that ran more than a mile. One
trucker told the Canadian Press that the backup was “the longest delay I can remember, and I've been traveling
for 10 years.” Some reports, confirmed by the Canada
Border Services Agency, placed the longest delays at crossings in Maine,
Vermont, upstate New York and two in Michigan. Some crossings, such as Detroit,
did not have delays Thursday morning.
Here’s what drivers are facing:
- On Monday, Canada Border Services started a program
called “export verification checks.” Chris Kealey, a spokesman for
the Canadian agency, told Land Line the
program involved a check of vehicles, travelers and their identification
before they reach the U.S. border.
measures have been stepped up this week along the border. Media outlets
reported that the tightened security was due to a request from the United
States for Canadian help in connection with the Democratic National
Convention in Boston, which started Monday, July 26, and ends Thursday,
July 29. However, Kealey said that to his knowledge, the security boost
was not connected to the convention.
border officers are reportedly stepping up truck inspections as part of a
protest over pay. Kealey said government officials were working to resolve
starts a holiday weekend in Canada, which will increase all forms of
traffic at the border crossings, compounding the problem.
Kealey said border delays varied
from one crossing to another. Thursday morning, for example, the longest delay
was at the Quebec crossing at 45 minutes, while some other crossings were
running as little as 10 minutes delay. But any delays are likely to extend into
The Canada Border Services Agency suggests several measures
truckers can take to reduce the delays they face at the border.
in the FAST program. “For people who have enrolled in or are members of
the FAST program, they have a pass to the front of the line,” Kealey said.
FAST, which stands for the
Free And Secure Trade, is a program designed to help move goods across the
Canada-U.S. border more quickly. It involves verifying trade compliance
away from the border, as well as pre-approving importers, carriers and
registered drivers for their border crossings.
- For those who are not enrolled in FAST, through this weekend they
should have their ID and payload information readily available when they
approach the border.
- Most important: Be patient, Kealey said, “because there will be
Canada Border Services also offers a Web site that can help
truckers. At www.cbsa.gc.ca, the agency
provides a list of every border crossing between the two nations and the
approximate waiting time. The information is updated every hour.
On the Web site, click on the “English” link, then go to
the “Quick Links” on the right side of the page. The first link is “Border wait
times.” That link brings you to a list of crossings with wait times for both
commercial and non-commercial vehicles, from both the U.S. side and Canadian
“I know it’s frustrating to wait,” Kealey said. “Try to be
as patient as possible. In some locations, there have been accidents in the
last three or four weeks. Try to be alert; there’s more traffic there than
normal on the long weekends, so for everyone’s safety involved, just be extra
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
Mark Reddig can be reached at email@example.com.