ATA Chairman Duane Acklie testified before a joint Senate committee and a House subcommittee on NAFTA trucking that motor carriers operating in the United States, no matter what their nationality, must abide by U.S. safety standards.
Acklie’s testimony came at a hearing about the NAFTA Arbitration Panel’s decision and safety issues related to implementing NAFTA’s motor carrier provisions. The hearing was done before the Senate’s commerce, science and transportation committee and the House’s highway and transit subcommittee of the transportation and infrastructure committee.
“Because the NAFTA trucking provisions have been delayed, trucking companies that have invested in equipment to provide freight service throughout North America are left to operate in an outmoded and ineffective freight transfer system at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Acklie said. “If, as anticipated, trade flows between Mexico and the United States continue to grow, the border facilities and personnel will only be further strained.”
Acklie said that according to a U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General’s report, too few trucks “are being inspected at the U.S.-Mexico border, and that too few inspected trucks comply with U.S. standards.” Considering that the present trucks are the pre-NAFTA drayage trucks, which ferry loads back and forth across the border to warehouses or freight yards, Acklie said this is not a surprise.
“Once the border is opened, our countries can begin to recognize the full benefits of NAFTA and increased trade between the U.S. and Mexico,” Acklie said. “Then, we can focus our efforts on the many business and practical issues that will arise from the cross-border integration process, which can only be tackled with the goodwill of committed trading partners.”