B.C. has launched a pilot project aimed at speeding up border crossings for truckers, the provincial government announced Saturday.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mary Polak says a pre-clearance area will be set up at the border in Surrey for U.S.-bound cargo trucks so U.S. officials can inspect cargo on Canadian soil.
She said the pre-cleared trucks will then be fast-tracked through a designated lane.
The cost breakdown for the project was unavailable Saturday, said ministry spokesman Jeff Knight.
Louise Yako, president and CEO of the BC Trucking Association, said reducing waiting times are critical for trucking companies that function in a highly competitive marketplace.
"We welcome this and other initiatives aimed at streamlining customs and border procedures and will be watching carefully to ensure it contributes to those goals," she said, in a statement.
Federal Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano signed a deal on March 14 to conduct the six-month pilot project.
The project is part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, a border deal that began two years ago between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Phase II of the project will be implemented at the Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ont. and Buffalo, N.Y.
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