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Struggles Continue For CBSA Montreal Longroom

: Transport

Montreal Longroom Struggling with Volumes Again: Overtime Approved to Catch Up 2018-03-22

Trying to get re-manifest or other paper stamped at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) longroom at Montreal 0395 is an exercise in frustration. Delays are several days. When we spoke to the CBSA yesterday morning, they expressed similar frustration and acknowledged that they have not been able to keep up with volumes. To that point, volumes have increased steadily for the past many months and, just when the Agency gets caught up, there is a holiday or Chinese New Year or something else to cause volumes to go up and available resources to go down.

We’re experiencing similar problems in dock and terminal congestion, long dwell times in the entire intermodal network and the CBSA is no different. It is the same fundamental cause in both cases: lack of resources (infrastructure) to handle spikes in volumes. [See our recent letter to Ministers calling for action on intermodal transportation.] In the case of the CBSA in Montreal, clerical staff was cut dramatically in 2011–2012, paper processes have not been replaced by digital solutions and there simply are not enough resources to process the increased volumes.

Although members have advised of unusually long delays, the CBSA advised yesterday that they are only three full working days behind (they don’t count weekends) and reported they were handling paper dropped on March 13th. To clear the backlog, overtime was authorized last night and tonight for 8 staff. If the backlog isn’t cleared, there is a chance that overtime might also be approved for Thursday night.

Additionally, new clerical staff has been hired and more are expected to be onboarded over the next days. Students have also been hired to begin probably in May, after school closes. As we all know, however, new clerical staff and students will have a longer learning curve and will not be productive or efficient within the first few weeks. And they will make mistakes. Realistically, it will be the end of May before we might see a normalization and return to an acceptable 24-hour delay.

Source: CIFFA


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