Celadon group chairman & CEO Steve Russell told Congress that the U.S. border needs to be both secure and trade-friendly. If security needs restrict the free flow of goods between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the nation's economy will suffer, he said.
Speaking before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources of the Government Reform Committee Russell noted that trucking plays a critical link among the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, moving over 71% of the value of freight between the U. S. and Canada, and about 81% of the value of U.S.-Mexico freight.
"Certainly, the increasing trade volumes that have been generated among the three NAFTA partners have not only been good for the economic well-being of our countries, but have also increased business revenues for trucking companies that provide cross-border trucking services," Russell said.
Russell added that on September 11, ports of entry at U.S. land borders were put on Level 1 Alert. That resulted in extreme crossing delays, severely hampering delivery of parts and equipment for just-in-time deliveries at manufacturing operations.
"Although the severe delays lasted only a few days, thanks to the increased deployment of personnel by U.S. Customs and the assistance of the national guard, crossing times are still not at levels as those prior to the attacks on our nation," Russell said.
"It is critical that as we look to further bolster the security of cross-border operations, we keep in mind the vital role that international trade plays in our economy," he said. "We must also look at ways to improve the efficiency with which legitimate trade moves in and out of our country."