NANAIMO, BC -- Ensuring the security of our transportation systems is key to strengthening Canada-US trade relationship, according to Canada’s new transport minister, Lisa Raitt.
Raitt, who spoke to the Association of Canadian Port Authorities conference here today, said that in implementing the Beyond the Border Action Plan, a shared vision for -perimeter security and economic competitiveness announced in 2011, the two countries are developing a joint cross-border approach to help maritime commerce recover faster after a major disruption.
She referred to a few initiatives in the works:
- As part of En Route to Intelligent Mobility – the $30-million Intelligent Transportation Systems Strategic Plan for Canada –, Ottawa has committed to advancing the development and deployment of innovative technologies across Canada. One of these projects, the Commercial Vehicle Preclearance System for compliant vehicles will reduce the number of times vehicles need to stop at inspection stations, saving time and reducing fuel usage.
- Raitt announced a $2-million repayable contribution to AXYS Technologies. The contribution was made through Industry Canada’s Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative, designed to encourage strategic research and development resulting in new products and services. This contribution will help AXYS develop applications that collect, analyse and display sensitive maritime data to enhance port and harbour security. Users of the applications will be able to monitor potential criminal threats in real time and will benefit from the company’s capabilities in marine environment monitoring.
- The Port of Prince Rupert is participating in a pilot project to improve the efficiency of shipping international goods by rail through Canadian ports to American markets by eliminating duplicate screening of containers as they cross the Canada-U.S. border.
Raitt’s belief that the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which was jointly tabled by Canada and the US in 2012, is the right approach for Canada-US trade, was echoed by Anne Callaghan, the US Consul General.
Taking the stage right after Raitt at the ACPA conference, Callaghan called Beyond the Border “a paradigm shift in how we view the border.”
“Security measures after 9/11 thickened the border to the detriment of trade,” Callaghan acknowledged, adding: “We can have secure borders and expedite trade. It’s not a zero sum game.”
The Association of Canadian Port of Authorities (ACPA) conference continues till Wednesday. Follow me on Twitter (@LouSmyrlis) for more coverage.