Border Delays Costing Billions

Border Delays Costing Billions

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Delays at the U.S.-Canadian border are costing the United States and Canadian economies nearly $10 billion a year, according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Taking aim at delays of up to four hours at the border, Ontario Chamber President Len Crispino said a report on the delays suggests the border is an economic "choke point" increasingly hurting shippers and truckers in both countries. Most of the delays, he said, are on the Canadian side of the border.

"Both the federal and provincial governments have made small gestures towards fixing our ailing border crossings," said Crispino. "But, frankly, the gestures we have seen are not nearly sufficient for the size and scope of the problem."

In some respects, Ontario is suffering from its own success, Crispino said. Since 1989, trade between the United States and Ontario has grown 152 percent, leading to a 122 percent increase in commercial traffic across the border. Today 25 percent of Ontarians are employed by exporters shipping products and goods to the United States, he said.

The OCC wants the provincial and federal governments to work together with their U.S. counterparts and the private sector to create short, medium and long term plans to improve border crossings, including investment in infrastructure, technology and education for truck drivers.

The Canadian business group estimates that by 2030 delays in the Detroit-Windsor corridor alone will result in direct costs to Canada and the United States of more than $17.8 billion a year and will result in over 70,000 jobs lost in Canada.

"Border crossings are the choke point of our economy. We know that if the border is clogged, the economy suffers immediate and dramatic damage," said Crispino. "We have seen announcement after announcement with funding for border crossings. Yet we''ve seen little progress on solutions. The OCC knows, and this study shows, that our border crossings must become a real issue for government."