Cross-Border Transportation: A Fleet Manager’s Guide

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9 February 2022 >> , , , ,

Cross-Border Transportation: A Fleet Manager’s Guide

Cross-Border Transportation: A Fleet Manager’s Guide

TAKEAWAY: Cross-Border Transportation involves additional health and safety regulations. Here’s what you should know to ensure your drivers stay safe and are able to do their job efficiently and effectively.

By Jennifer Crump

The United States and Canada share the world’s longest international border and one of the world’s closest trading relationships. Across almost 9,000 kilometers and through 120 land ports of entry, nearly $1.7 billion in goods and services pass between these two countries every day. Fleet drivers from both sides of the border handle the majority of that trade. About 120,000 Canadian truck drivers run cross-border routes, while 40,000 U.S.-licensed drivers do the same.

Cross-border transportation was a logistical trial even before the COVID-19 pandemic, as fleet managers and drivers had to satisfy a myriad of state, provincial, and dual federal legislation. Employers also have to ensure drivers possess the proper paperwork and find ways to track and monitor their progress. The ongoing pandemic has delivered a new set of often conflicting legislation and requirements. Here’s what fleet managers should know to ensure that their drivers remain safe and to help optimize their cross-border transportation fleet.  

The Covid-19 Pandemic

Two events could impact driver supply over the next few months, and fleet managers should prepare. The first is an impending vaccine mandate. The second is the ending of the license renewal exemption for commercial drivers. Drivers will also be expected to enter their vaccine status in the ArriveCAN app beginning November 30, 2021. 

Vaccines will be Mandatory as of January 15, 2022

On January 15, 2022, both American and Canadian authorities will require anyone who crosses the border into their respective countries, including truck drivers, to be fully vaccinated. This means that drivers must have two doses of approved vaccines and provide proof of their vaccination status before they will be allowed to cross the border. 

License Extension Waiver Has Ended 

The pandemic made license renewals a challenge for drivers, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) responded with a three-month license extension waiver for commercial drivers that also applied to Canadian drivers. This extension expired on November 30. Valid and current licenses will now be required. 

Fleet managers should remind drivers to ensure their licenses are up to date and encourage vaccinations to ensure the entire fleet is operational and no drivers are sidelined. 

The ArriveCAN App – Vaccination Status is Now Required

Canadian Border Services (CBS) launched the ArriveCAN app in Canada to expedite border entry by allowing travelers to enter essential information such as vaccine status and deliver it to CBS. As of November 30, all drivers entering Canada must enter their vaccination status in the ArriveCAN app. Unlike other travelers, though, truck drivers only have to enter their information once. The app allows essential workers, including truckers, to enter their information once and reuse the same ArriveCAN receipt every time they cross the border, making the process a bit easier for them. 

What Drivers Will Need at the U.S. Border

Drivers can expedite the border crossing process by ensuring they have their proof of citizenship ready. They’ll need two forms of identification with at least one photo ID. This can be a passport or a driver’s license.

Have the paperwork ready

U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates that 20% of commercial vehicles end up delayed or facing a secondary inspection due to faulty or incomplete customs paperwork. To avoid issues, ensure paperwork is accessible, legible, and complete. Missing information or illegible documentation will slow drivers down or stop them altogether. It may result in significant fines at the border if officers believe there was a deliberate attempt to mislead them.

Crossing into the U.S., in addition to ID, drivers must produce:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Customs Invoice 
  • Copy of the 17-point inspection 
  • ACE eManifest

Crossing into Canada, in addition to ID, drivers must produce: 

  • Bill of Lading
  • Customs Invoice
  • A copy of the 17-point inspection 
  • ACI eManifest or a Lead Sheet

Do You Need DOT Testing?

SureHire’s Department of Transportation (DOT) Consortium Random Program groups test participants from various companies into a pool for random drug and alcohol testing of drivers required to cross U.S. borders.

Testing is mandatory for DOT-regulated employers. Generally, DOT regulations cover safety-sensitive transportation employers and employees. Each DOT agency (e.g. FRA, FMCSA, FTA, FAA, and PHMSA) and the USCG have specific drug and alcohol testing regulations that outline who is subject to their testing regulations.

Learn more about SureHire’s DOT testing services.

Non-U.S. and Non-Canadian Drivers

Drivers with international citizenship that is neither the U.S. nor Canadian will need to produce their visa at the border. They will also need an I-94 card, otherwise known as the Arrival-Departure Record Card, to enter the U.S. Drivers can purchase the I-94 card at the U.S. border. 

Know and Enforce the Logbook Rules 

Logbook rules are different in the U.S. and Canada, and drivers must comply with the regulations of the country they are operating in. In other words, as soon as drivers cross the border, those expectations will change and they must comply with the regulations of the country they’ve just entered. 

As of June 12, 2021, Electronic Logging Devices (LOG) are now required in Canada for truck drivers who follow hours of service (HOS) regulations. Here are some of the significant differences between U.S. and Canadian logbook regulations: 

  • In the U.S., drivers are limited to 15 on-duty hours, and in Canada, they are limited to 14 on-duty hours.
  • A Canadian commercial driver must meet record of duty (ROD) status requirements when operating in the U.S. and vice versa.
  • RODs must include the past 14 consecutive days and supporting documents for the current trip while in Canada. In the U.S., drivers must have RODs for the current and past seven days available for inspection. 

Manage Risk with Telematics and Communications 

Roadblocks, congested border posts, availability of fuel, and weather-related incidents add to the risks of cross-border trucking. Telematics can help mitigate these and other threats. While traffic is beginning to move again, drivers can still find themselves alone on long stretches of highway. 

Telematics can help fleet managers track trucks, plan the best route, and get early notice of potential mechanical issues that can leave drivers stranded. They can also be leveraged to help drivers stay in touch by finding the best mobile network for their route. 

Finally, telematics can simplify and fuel tax assessment and collection to ensure compliance with the inter-state, inter-provincial International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and avoid the hefty fines that can result from non-compliance or inaccurate reporting. 

Leverage the FAST System 

FAST is a joint program offered by Canadian Border Services and U.S. Customs and Border Protection designed to expedite border processing. A FAST card reduces documentation at the border and can prove identity for Canadian and U.S. citizens. There are also dedicated lanes available for FAST cardholders at:

  • Sarnia, ON / Port Huron, MI
  • Pacific Highway, BC / Blaine, WA
  • Fort Erie, ON
  • Emerson, MB
  • Windsor, ON / Detroit, MI

 Interested in learning more about keeping your fleet safe on the roads? Check out “5 Ways To Optimize Your Fleet Safety Program.”

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