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U.S., Canada need to get smart about border practices, Tellier says


Paul Tellier believes the United States and Canada should work harder to ensure the integrity of their shared border, although neither nation can afford measures that might damage a trading partnership worth $446 billion in 2000.
Addressing the Canadian Association of Railway Shippers Oct. 10 in Montreal, Canadian National Railway Co.'s president and chief executive officer said the events of Sept. 11 call for "smart" border practices, including better intelligence gathering and more sharply focused border operations to help pinpoint potential dangers.
Tellier proposed four border initiatives: aligning U.S. and Canadian customs polices, pre-clearing freight and people that don't pose a security threat, moving customs activities away from the border where possible, and harmonizing U.S. and Canadian customs computer systems.
"We should establish unified procedures and standards for processing people and freight coming to our shores," he said, according to a prepared statement.
Coordinated freight security might entail customs processing of overseas containers at the first port of entry, regardless of the container's destination or whether the port is Canadian or American. Once cleared, containers freely would cross the international border.
Tellier believes this process would help reduce delays at land border crossing points, and eliminate redundant inland processing and management.
"And our countries can do this without ceding our sovereign rights to make decisions within our respective jurisdictions," he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/10/2001