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CTA’s Fox: Report Downplays Cost Impact of Border Wait Times

The Canadian Trucking Alliance says a recent government report that finds cash fee collections at international border crossings have minimal impact on trucking companies is misleading.

As reported by Blacklocks, the study – Economic Impact Of Border Fees In Three Target Sectors in Canada And The United States – states that wait times for trucks paying cash fees at Canada-U.S. border crossings average just 5 minutes, posing modest added costs for commercial carriers.

It calculated border delays cost shippers an average $49 an hour so “if this value of time is applied to the assumed five minutes for a truck to pay a border fee in a cash transaction, this works out to approximately $4 in time costs per transaction at the border,”

For its part, the study – obtained by Blacklocks through Access To Information – does acknowledge the “assumptions are broad” and the data does not include all possible costs to carriers, including administrative and customs compliance costs.

CTA vice president for customs, Jennifer Fox, agrees that the study is downplaying the impact on carriers and the supply chain. “Every minute a truck isn’t moving is a cost,” she told Blacklocks. Furthermore, the actual operating costs for carriers are nearly double the $49 an hour cited by the report, in the range of $70 to $80 an hour; and that even a claimed wait time cost of $7 is deceptive.

“Five minutes is probably accurate for a cash transaction, but there is no accounting for the cumulative impact,” Fox said. “If you have a line-up of ten trucks, that’s five minutes for one; then five more minutes; then five more. If you’re the tenth truck in the line it’s nearly an hour.”

“Take the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit,” said Fox. “It sees 12,000 truck crossings on a good day. Assume 6,000 trucks are travelling from Canada to the U.S., and its estimated 90 percent of commercial carriers use electronic transponders. That means 600 trucks a day are still paying cash at an expense of $7 each, for a cost of $4,200 a day in delay costs to highway carriers, every day. That’s huge.”

Annual fees collected from trucking companies by the Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Post, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and other government departments are worth more than $34 million, the study said.

Full story here.

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