CTA calls for fairness in AMPs penalty system

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is calling for greater fairness and the use of ‘volumetrics’ in the AMPs (Administrative Monetary Penalties) system used for Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) compliance.

After an extended period of penalty mitigation, and the issuing of zero-rated AMPS to allow carriers to adjust to these new processes, CBSA said it intended to return to a graduated AMPS penalty system as of Nov. 1, 2016. Resulting fines caused major concerns for carriers, who contacted CTA to say the system was too punitive. Many carriers feel the agency is unreasonably expecting 100% compliance, which simply isn’t possible due to the sheer volume of entries and probability of human administrative errors. Furthermore, the penalty amounts are out of line with many types of offences.

“The AMPs penalty regime needs to recognize the difference between a clerical error and what truly is a national security risk,” says Stephen Laskowski, Sr. VP, CTA. “The industry has already demonstrated a high level of compliance, and CTA feels it is necessary for CBSA to take steps to address the effectiveness of a penalty system using volumetrics, which creates fairness for all sizes of carriers and continues to measure risk for the Government of Canada.”

Meanwhile, CTA has appreciated CBSA’s willingness to work with carriers to help them transition and correct ACI errors, as well as their efforts to mitigate some issues with the current system.
CTA members who want to learn more about this issue should contact the CTA staff at customs@cantruck.ca.

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Border fees creating economic wall
While pundits debate whether President-elect Donald Trump will, in fact, build a wall between America and its NAFTA neighbours, CTA is reminding politicians in both Canada and the US how escalating costs and redundant fees imposed by governments at the border can be just as stifling as any physical barrier.

“Trade between our two great nations is the number one source of exports for 35 states, creating nine million US jobs as a result,” said CTA’s Stephen Laskowski. “Our members’ trucks haul close to two-thirds of this trade. Raising the amount of penalties and types of fees at the border is increasing the cost of goods made in North America, which reduces their competitiveness in comparison to offshore products. If Ottawa and Washington begin examining new trade deals, then there also needs to be a review and reconsideration of the fees and penalties associated with trucking goods across the border.”

These include:
• US Custom decals: Also known as a User Fee, is an RFID sticker that transmits information about a vehicle and border crossing User Fee payment status. The cost of these decals has risen from $205 US/truck to $401.67 US/truck.

• The User Fee cannot not be pro-rated for purchases made mid-year. Transponders have a life span of up to 10 years and remain with the vehicle, even if sold.

• APHIS fees: APHIS is responsible for protecting US crops and livestock from pests and diseases and for monitoring/promoting wildlife management and animal welfare. The original annual cost per truck, regardless of whether it carries agricultural product or not, was $105 when first introduced in 2007. For trucks using transponders, the annual fees have risen from US $105 to US $301.67 – a 200% hike that may violate at least two trade agreements. Vehicles that don’t have an annual User Fee will have to pay a per-crossing fee each time it enters the US of $13.05 (includes both US CBP and APHIS fees).

• Off-load charges at the border, such as those associated for the use of third party services to remove pallets from the trucks during examinations can average $650 on the US side and $350 in Canada per inspection. These costs don’t include driver detention time, which can add hundreds of dollars to the final cost.

• Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPS) are given to carriers in Canada for failure to meet mandatory ACI reporting requirements as defined by CBSA. These penalties can now be escalated and range as high as $8,000 or more for ACI-related contraventions, including some offences CTA would deem to be minor or low security related.

“US CBP and CBSA have been good partners with the CTA by working with the industry at finding ways to mitigate the impact of these fees. Ultimately, however, there needs to be political direction on both sides of the border to weigh the risk and negative impact to the economy from these escalating border fees,” said Laskowski.

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