Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
"A Success Story at the Peace Bridge Benefiting Everyone"
As do other border crossing agencies, the Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority seeks efficient border crossings for the traveling public as well as international freight transfer. In FY 1999, FHWA awarded $960,000 from sections 1118/1119 of TEA-21 in FY1999 for this purpose. The Authority used these funds to develop procedures and train personnel to operate a commercial vehicle processing centre (CVPC) at the international border. The CVPC has fully met expectations and has been recognized by peer border agencies and the U.S. Customs Service.
The CVPC is a first-of-its-kind facility. It is located in Canada adjacent to the Peace Bridge that connects Fort Erie, Ontario with Buffalo, New York. This facility acts as a staging area for unprepared US-bound carriers to assemble & process their paperwork with their US-based broker BEFORE approaching the Peace Bridge and their first stop, the US Customs Primary Inspection. Funds provided by TEA-21 allowed for on-going operational funding as well as a high level of training by professional customs brokers for Peace Bridge Authority staff. The CVPC has been much appreciated by the commercial carriers who are its primary customers. However, it also decreases overall time in the system for all users because fewer vehicles are held at the Customs station for secondary inspections.
A local User Group worked together for two years to organize and develop it, and the year 2000 marked the first full year of its operation serving Peace Bridge commercial customers. Advanced by the User Group composed of trucking associations and commercial carriers, the Peace Bridge Authority, customs brokers, and US Customs; it has been a venue to promulgate the Pre-Arrival Processing System or "PAPS", US Customs' program similar (but not identical) to PARS in Canada. PAPS is used by US Customs for carriers crossing at Buffalo with Customs' main goal for this program to increase the number of carriers released at the Primary Truck Lane. The goal for release at primary inspection is 92%.
With the objective to reduce congestion on the US Plaza by increasing the number of trucks released at the Primary Inspection Line, the facility is fulfilling its purpose based on the numbers from US Customs. Prior to the opening of the CVPC, an average of 64% of carriers crossing into Buffalo were cleared at Primary Inspection with the remaining 36% referred to and cleared through Secondary Inspection. This meant that before the CVPC opened, approximately 700 trucks per 24-hour period would park on the US Plaza and be delayed at the border by Secondary Inspection.
As of 2001, Primary Inspection Line release increased to about 82% with only 15% or about 400 trucks requiring Secondary Inspection, and the US Plaza is a lot less congested. The success of the CVPC has been recognized by other border crossings looking to emulate this unique facility and its operations.
For additional information about the CVPC, technological advances in traffic management at the Peace Bridge, and the multi jurisdictional and international cooperation that make this facility a success, contact Anthony Braunscheidel, Manager for IT & Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org.