John Bourbonniere was a manager in the trucking industry and witnessed the changes that impacted freight drivers after the Sept. 11

Border crossings for truckers more timely since 9/11

Increased security measures improved flow at Pacific Highway crossing, says former trucking manager.

Ten years ago, the world was indeed a different place.

Case in point: There was talk of “loosening the required regulations” for cross-border commerce in the months leading up to Sept. 11, 2001, says a former manager for the largest freight carrier in North America on 9/11.

The intent was to modernize the system, thereby making it easier for commercial traffic to cross the U.S.-Canada border, said John Bourbonniere, a retired Western Canada manager for Yellow Transportation, now YRC Reimer.

“And when (9/11) happened, obviously that went off the charts and (border security) really clamped down,” recalled Bourbonniere.

But the result – at least for truckers – was positive.

Bourbonniere explained the onerous procedure his transport drivers faced at the Pacific Highway crossing at 176 Street in Surrey in the years prior to 9/11.

At the border, drivers would park their semi-trailers and then walk to the U.S. side to drop off a shipping manifest to each individual customs broker, of which there were 20 at the time. Once they reached the end of the line, the drivers would then retrace their steps to pick up the processed documents from each office.

Only then could they head back to their truck to get in line for primary inspection.

After 9/11, in response to increased terrorism threats, the U.S. and Canadian governments did a 180-degree turn in terms of border security.

The FAST (Free And Secure Trade) program was introduced. Commercial drivers who apply for a FAST card – vetted by the FBI and RCMP – are pre-screened for expedited entry into the U.S. and Canada.

“The good thing about (FAST) was that you were really assured that these drivers had clean driving records; no police issues,” explained Bourbonniere.

He says the company lost some drivers who elected not to apply for the FAST program.

“You don’t know whether that is because of the delays involved, or the extra scrutiny the drivers didn’t want, or if in fact they knew that there was something else in their background that would not allow them to get one,” he said.

The rest of the drivers had to get in the regular, non-FAST, lanes.

“Some people actually started calling the general line-up ‘the rot line’,” quipped Bourbonniere.

Pacific Highway is the third-largest commercial port in Canada clearing an average of 50,000 commercial vehicles per month, said Faith St. John, spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

From 2004 to 2005, it took approximately 6.8 minutes for commercial vehicles heading north at Pacific Highway to reach the primary inspection booth; in the 2010-2011 reporting year, that number decreased by 15.6 per cent to 5.74 minutes.

Over the next 18 months, the CBSA will be changing the way commercial goods coming into Canada are screened and processed through a new system: eManifest.

Highway carriers already participate in eManifest by providing electronic cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA before goods arrive at the border.

“When fully implemented, eManifest will be a virtually paperless process that starts before shipments even reach the border,” said St. John.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Police’s role in Barnston Island still needs ‘to be looked at’

Surrey RCMP polices unincorporated island a short ferry ride across Parson’s Channel

Surrey looking into reducing residential speed limits

Surrey city council on Feb. 24 approved five ‘key pillars’ of a Surrey Transportation Plan

‘We have to triage’: Surrey teachers stage ‘walk-in’ to support public education

Teachers raising awareness after more than one year at the bargaining table

Suspected drugs, counterfeit cash seized during distracted driving stop: Surrey RCMP

Police said incident happened near 152nd Street and Fraser Highway

Fate of five-district policing model in Surrey rests with new police board

Whalley/City Centre, Guildford/Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale, and South Surrey districts formed under McCallum’s watch in 1998

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read