ATA seeks greater federal effort in cross-border security

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Current efforts by the U.S., Canadian and Mexican authorities to ensure the security and efficiency of cross-border operations are working, but the U.S. government should expedite its investment in technology and infrastructure to further enhance security, the American Trucking Associations told Congress on June 19.

Speaking on ATA’s behalf to a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Celadon Group Chairman and CEO Steve Russell said technology and infrastructure improvements at ports of entry could tighten security while simultaneously facilitating trade among the countries.

“Any successful effort for preventing the entry of terrorists through our air, sea or land borders will have to rely on the cooperation of foreign governments, in essence ‘pushing our borders out,'” Russell told the subcommittee. “This means working with Canadian and Mexican government agencies and officials in developing programs to share facilities and information systems in order to capture data prior to cargo and people arriving at our points of entry.”

Russell called on Congress to continue supporting cross-border programs like C-TPAT and FAST; encouraged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take a lead role among Federal agencies in managing point-of-entry systems and processes; and recommended that the Homeland Security Committee work with other congressional committees to analyze funding for improving border facilities and infrastructure.

Also testifying at the hearing were Bill Arrington, general manger of the Transportation Security Administration’s Highway and Motor Carrier Division and Greg Olsavsky, director of cargo control for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Copies of all the prepared statements delivered at the hearing are available on the Homeland Security Committee’s website.