The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) today joined Premier Brad Wall in calling for the border portal at Raymond, Montana, to remain open on a 24-hour daily basis.
“Maintaining the only 24-hour commercial access point on the Saskatchewan-Montana is integral to the continuous movement of trade goods,” says the STA’s executive director.
“More than 70% of Saskatchewan exports move by truck, an industry operating 24/7 in North America,” said Al Rosseker. “Exports should not be impeded at portals, since trade goods and commodities are such key economic drivers.” He pointed out that the Port of Raymond allows commercial traffic eventual access to the US Interstate Highway System that provides critical linkages to various trade corridors.
The STA is calling upon the US Customs & Border Protection Service (USCBPS) to abandon its plan to Institute a 60-day pilot project to close the Raymond portal between midnight and 6 am, beginning April 17, 2016.
“That six hour closure will have significant financial impact on truck transport that could lead to higher prices for consumer hard goods and foodstuffs,” Rosseker noted. “If trucks have to detour to other 24-hour portals, fuel, maintenance labor costs will rise as will workloads at other border points.” A news release from US Customs & Border Protection indicates the closest, 24-hour commercial entry portals are 92 miles to the east and 335 miles to the west. Raymond, across the border from Regway in Saskatchewan, is 15 miles north of Plentywood, Montana, which could also suffer economically if truck traffic is forced to find another overnight port of entry.
The STA also points to hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on Saskatchewan highway infrastructure to increase road efficiencies and safety, as well as trade with the US. “Unimpeded trade corridors accessed through the Port of Raymond 24/7 are essential to supply chain economics,” the STA contends. The Montana border point is part of a key, 24/7 transport network that depends on US access.