Letters: Truckers applaud Aldergrove border crossing upgrades

Dear Editor,

The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) welcomes today’s announcement by Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney that the federal government is investing $17.7M to, among other improvements for cross-border travellers, build a full-processing facility and supporting infrastructure for commercial vehicles at the Aldergrove border crossing. The expanded facility, projected for completion in early 2016, is expected to improve efficiency for the trucking industry and provide stability and access for companies looking to grow and establish their operations in the Aldergrove area.

“We are extremely pleased that the government has recognized the value of Aldergrove to cross-border trade along with the Pacific Highway crossing and Huntingdon in Abbotsford,” said Louise Yako, BCTA’s President & CEO. “Because Aldergrove was originally designed as a crossing for passenger cars, there was an understandable tendency to ‘stick with the program’ in terms of envisioning its future. But with input from our members and the local business community, the ministry realized the opportunity to support and enhance trade via land border ports in the region.”

Since August 2010, commercial vehicle traffic at Aldergrove has been restricted to local area carriers who are granted a Letter of Authorization to use the port, while the government assessed the feasibility of constructing a new facility. The restriction has meant recent growth in cross-border truck volumes has put additional pressure on the two neighbouring commercial ports, Pacific Highway and Huntingdon. Together, the three commercial ports saw truck volumes increase (north and southbound) 11 percent between 2009 and 2012.   

In 2012, the most recent year statistics are available, the Pacific Highway and Blaine (US) crossings processed 715,000 trucks (north and southbound), or nearly 2,000 trucks per day. Huntingdon/Sumas (US) handled 245,000 trucks (north and southbound), while Aldergrove/Lynden (US) processed 54,000 trucks (north and southbound). Collectively, truck trade via the three Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley commercial crossings grew from $12.1 billion in 2009 to $14.3 billion in 2012 – an increase of 18 percent. The Pacific Highway in Surrey is Canada’s fourth busiest commercial crossing (after Ontario land border ports in Windsor, Sarnia and Fort Erie), while Huntingdon is thirteenth.

In addition, a new facility at Aldergrove is good news because the Pacific Highway crossing, in particular, has limited opportunities for expansion and can frequently become congested, with delays for commercial vehicles. It is a key investment anticipated by the Canadian trucking industry as a result of the 2011 Canada/US Beyond the Border Action Plan to facilitate trade.

 

Shelley McGuinness, British Columbia Trucking Association

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