Status: Completed in 2008 — Operations Project
The Whatcom Council of Governments worked with U.S. Customs & Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency on several outreach and educational efforts directed at commercial vehicle drivers, carriers, and shippers, designed to provide more information about the binational FAST Program for trucks.
The program outreach focused on commercial drivers, carriers, and shippers using the Cascade Gateway border system, specifically the Pacific Highway ports-of-entry that connect to WA State Route 543/B.C. Highway 15 where designated FAST lanes have been constructed.
Why this project was needed
The objective of FAST marketing was to reduce overall border congestion by expediting low-risk commercial movements, and allowing inspection agencies to focus their energies on higher-risk shipments.
Several targeted marketing approaches were undertaken between 2003 and 2008:
Outreach to Carriers and Drivers
Whatcom Council of Governments worked with U.S. Customs & Border Protection to conduct data collection and analysis for targeting its efforts. Outcomes suggested that over 50 percent of the cross-border truck trips at Pacific Highway are made by just 15 percent of the carriers who use the crossing. WCOG held a series of workshops and exhibition booths with inspection agencies to provide details on joining the FAST program, either as a driver or as a carrier company.
Lynden Data Collection Effort
While FAST clearance of a loaded truck requires enrollment of the driver, the carrier, and the importer, FAST clearance of an empty truck only requires driver and carrier enrollment. The Lynden port-of-entry is often congested with “empties”-hypothesized to be a result of trucks avoiding longer waits at Pacific Highway. To assess and respond to this dynamic, CBP recommended an intercept survey at Lynden to identify frequent, empty carriers and encourage them to apply for and use FAST at Pacific Highway. Analysis of the data showed that there is a significant, yet smaller-than-expected set of frequent, empty carriers who would seem better served by a FAST lane at Pacific Highway.
2008 Marketing Efforts
In 2008, a northbound FAST lane was opened at Pacific Highway Port-of-Entry. As part of an effort to inform regional carriers about the new lane, and to learn why carrier companies are or are not enrolled in both Canadian and U.S. FAST programs, phone interviews were conducted using the data gathered in 2006 to target calls to the top 50 carrier companies that crossed the border most frequently. The phone interviews gathered fleet and travel pattern information, enrollment status, educated about the new northbound lane, and asked if they were interested in joining the program. Results from the interview process are detailed in the final report. Main challenges to greater FAST usage in the Cascade Gateway were identified as:
A lack of shippers enrolled in the program
Frequency of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments (which have multiper shippers, therefore, unlikely to have all shippers enrolled in C-TPAT)
The cost and hassle of joining both programs, especially for small companies.
More details of these responses and changes based on feedback that could help make the program more successful in this region are included in the final report.
Funding & Partnerships
This project was funded by:
- U.S. Federal Highway Administration: $100,500
- B.C. Ministry of Transportation: $5,000
- Whatcom Council of Governments: $10,000