U.S./Canadian customs policies should promote cooperation with railroads, says CN's Tellier (6/27/2001)


Canadian National Railway Co.'s ability to help reduce transborder highway congestion is being hampered by Canada's discriminatory tax policies and cumbersome U.S. customs procedures, said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Tellier June 26 at the New York-Ontario Economic Summit in Buffalo, N.Y., according to a prepared statement.

CN is ready to offer relief -- but the Class I's transborder trains are delayed due to customs policies.

"We could do more if the playing field between trucks and trains was level," said Tellier, adding that taxes on railroads for fuel, material, equipment purchases and right-of-ways are 50 percent higher in Canada than in the United States, and Canadian roads pay higher taxes than do U.S. and Canadian truckers.

About 52 percent of CN's revenue is derived from cross-border or domestic U.S. traffic and transborder freight — all of which may rise due to CN's proposed acquisition of Wisconsin Central Transportation Corp. and its intermodal marketing agreement with CSX Intermodal.

To improve customs procedures, Tellier proposes that the United States and Canada harmonize their customs computer systems to create a single reporting requirement; return to voluntary customs pre-clearance compliance for all freight carriers that have a proven customs-compliance record; inspect shipments at destination rather than border points; and adopt a North American customs perimeter for all offshore shipments, with a single customs agency conducting inspections.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News