CAnada-united states : ONE border

“Cleared once, accepted twice” is the principle behind Beyond the Border, the pilot project on free and secure trade between the neighbouring countries and business partners. What’s in it for the Port of Montreal?

The 49th parallel, which forms the border between Canada and the United States, will soon be easier for containers arriving at the Port of Montreal to cross before heading to our neighbours to the south. At least that’s the objective of the pilot project jointly run by Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP).

Ultimately, if the project is successful, cargo cleared by Customs at the Port of Montreal by Canadian border service agents will be considered cleared by the U.S. authorities; the cargo can head to its final destination in the United States without losing time at the border between the two countries.

Félixpier Bergeron, Director, Security and Fire Prevention at Port of Montréal

“This is an outstanding strategic advantage for the Port of Montreal! We’ll be able to shorten delivery times to U.S. destinations,” explained Félixpier Bergeron, director of security and fire prevention at the Port of Montreal. This will benefit tens of millions of customers, especially in New England, a growing market.

The pilot project is taking place in two ports: Prince Rupert, British Columbia is currently testing containers transhipped to trains, while Montreal is focussing on road transport. At the Port of Montreal, 75% of the cargo that arrives is then transported by truck to customers. Also, in 2010-2011, 25% of total marine traffic was shipped to the United States.

The project should last about a year and will make it possible to harmonize customs procedures between both countries. The idea is to ensure the smooth flow of goods while maintaining a high level of security. To achieve this, security checks at the point of arrival (POA) must be strengthened. Suspicious freight must be flagged as soon as possible in the supply chain, while facilitating the passage of freight in good standing. Methods for targeting illegal goods must be improved. One of the pillars of the pilot project’s Beyond the Border Action Plan is its Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (ICSS).

The success of Beyond the Border requires collaboration from several partners. In addition to the border service agencies of the United States and Canada, participation is being sought from Transport Canada, the Quebec ministry of transport, Contrôle routier Québec, the Quebec ministry of public security, the Shipping Federation of Canada, terminal operators, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Association du camionnage du Québec. The Montreal Port Authority is playing a supportive, facilitating role.