Truckers relieved over Customs decision to defer elimination date of A-49 forms

by Canadian Shipper

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) has deferred until further notice the elimination of the A-49 Automotive and Release Document form used for automotive shipments.

That’s welcomed news to Canadian trucking companies who were experiencing difficulties in having enough drivers approved to haul loads under Customs Self Assessment , the program which will eventually replace the A-49 release document now in use.

In late 2002, following discussions with automotive companies, the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association, and concerned carriers, CCRA had extended the elimination date to February 1, 2003. The A-49 will now be eliminated on a date to be announced in a future customs notice.

"While CTA recognizes that the elimination of the A-49 form is a step in the migration towards Customs Self Assessment (CSA) for the auto industry as well as carriers and drivers involved in automotive shipments, the earlier October 2002 and February 2003 deadlines posed difficulties for the trucking industry," said David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Many carriers working for the auto companies were having problems ensuring an adequate supply of approved drivers to haul CSA loads. Part of the problem was caused by the large backlog of approved applications waiting to be picked up as well as the application processing time of 4 to 6 weeks. The enforcement of the deadline dates could have left carriers with two equally unpalatable choices turn down business or use non-approved drivers and risk AMPS penalties.

"All parties recognize that A-49’s will have to disappear eventually, but in a high turnover industry such as trucking there will always be situations where carriers will be waiting upon driver approval before they can be assigned CSA loads," added Bradley. "CTA appreciates the flexibility shown by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency in this matter."

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