Heightened security checks snarl border traffic

by Canadian Shipper

MONTREAL, Que. An inspection blitz amid heightened security concerns surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Boston, created a nightmare for truckers trying to get through Ontario and Quebec border crossings yesterday.

News reports said the United States had asked Canada to help with security checks in light of warnings from U.S. officials that terrorists might try to strike at a top pre-election event.

Southbound commercial traffic was backed up for three kilometres from the U.S. border post at Champlain, N.Y., said Nicole Barsalou, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency told the Toronto Star.

U.S.-bound motorists were also being stopped for intermittent checks on the Canadian side at St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., before reaching the U.S. boundary, Barsalou added.

In Fort Erie, Ont., U.S.-bound traffic was backed up for two kilometres.

One trucker told the The Star: “it’s the longest delay I can remember, and I’ve been travelling for 10 years.”

The delays were longest at crossings in Quebec and Ontario that offered direct routes to Boston. Barsalou said a combination of factors, including heightened U.S. security concerns and traffic volume, affected the southbound tie-ups at Champlain/Lacolle.

Complicating the picture is a round of pressure tactics by Canada Customs officers, who say they’re underpaid. They said they would conduct meticulous checks on trucks today and tomorrow, extending their checks to all vehicles by the holiday weekend.

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