Pallet rules could disrupt border crossing

by Array

OTTAWA: The Canadian Trucking Alliance is calling for enough time to prepare for looming rule changes governing the treatment of wood packaging materials (WPM) crossing the Canada-US border.

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed amending regulations that would remove an exemption allowing WPM from Canada into the US without meeting treatment and marking requirements applied to all other countries. Chemical or heat treatment is designed to reduce the spread of harmful insects, and international standards are applied to WPM entering the US and Canada from other countries.

In a submission to the APHIS, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) cautioned there will be serious disruptions at the land border unless industry is given adequate time to prepare for the change.

“CTA takes no position on the science behind the decision to eliminate the exemption,” said the CTA’s CEO, David Bradley. “Canada and the US share a common interest in protecting our forest resources, and if this means treatment of pallets and dunnage, then so be it.  But at the same time, CTA’s discussions with industry and government officials have made it abundantly clear that we are simply not ready at this time to ensure that there is an adequate supply of treated WPM in circulation to meet the demands of Canada-US trade, and nor has APHIS outlined detailed plans on how it will apply and enforce the rules at the border.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are 320 million pallets used each year in transporting Canadian goods into the US. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency plans to eliminate a similar exemption for WPM entering Canada from the US.

According to a written submission, CTA argued enforcement shouldn’t begin “until APHIS and CFIA, working with industry, are satisfied that there are enough WPM compliant pallets in circulation to meet the demands of Canada–US trade.”