Free and Secure Trade
FAST programs are the result of negotiated bilateral initiatives between the US and Canada (December 2002) and the US and Mexico (September 2003). The participating countries have agreed to harmonize, to the maximum extent possible, their commercial processes for clearance of commercial shipments at the border.
FAST participants are highway carriers and importers moving low-risk shipments between the US and Canada or Mexico.
FAST participation is only available to foreign manufacturers, foreign or domestic carriers and importers enrolled in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) or Canada's Partners in Protection (PIP).
Per FAST requirements, Manufacturers, Importers, and Carriers must ensure that high security mechanical seals are used on all loaded containers or trailers destined for the United States, and, where appropriate, must follow ISO/PSA standard 17712.
Thus, any truck using FAST lane processing must be a C-TPAT approved carrier, carrying qualifying goods from a C-TPAT approved manufacturer, importer, and the driver must possess a valid FAST-Commercial Driver Card. FAST processing is based upon advanced electronic transmission of information.
1. Importer Registration: Importers will complete separate applications to the Customs administrations in the United States and Canada or the United States and Mexico. Importers authorized to use the FAST program for clearance into the United States will have a demonstrated history of complying with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, and will have made a commitment to security enhancing business practices as required by C-TPAT.
2. Carrier Registration: Carriers will complete the FAST Highway Carrier Application Process requirements that include corporate information, a security profile, and a written Highway Carrier Agreement. In order to qualify for FAST Highway Carrier membership into the U.S. and Canada, two separate applications must be submitted to each country's respective FAST Processing Centers.
Each country will perform an independent risk assessment and each country will issue independent approvals for participation. For the United States, a FAST approved carrier will have met all aspects of C-TPAT through the FAST registration process.
3. Commercial Driver Application: Drivers will complete a single FAST Commercial Driver Application for the U.S. and Canada. The application will be risk assessed by the customs and immigration services of both countries. Applicants identified as low risk will report to an enrollment center where they will be interviewed, have their original identification and citizenship documents reviewed, fingerprinted and have a digital photo taken. Low-risk applicants will then be issued a FAST &endash; Commercial Driver Card.
The two cargo release methods for FAST shipments are the National Customs Automated Prototype (NCAP) and the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS). NCAP/FAST processing for FAST began in December, 2002. The FAST processing of PAPS shipments is expected to start in 2004.
1. FAST: FAST is the first completely paperless cargo release mechanism put into place by U.S. Customs. This paperless processing is achieved through electronic data transmissions and transponder technology. FAST is highly automated and allows for the expedited release of highly compliant cargo from major importers, reducing congestion at our land borders.
2. Pre Arrival Processing System (PAPS) -The Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is a U.S. Customs ACS (Automated Commercial System) border cargo release mechanism that utilizes barcode technology to expedite the release of commercial shipments while still processing each shipment through Border Cargo Selectivity (BCS) and the Automated Targeting System (ATS).
Each PAPS shipment requires a unique barcode label, which the carrier attaches to the invoice and the truck manifest while the merchandise is still in Canada. The barcode consists of the Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) and Pro-Bill number. This information is then faxed ahead to the Customs broker in the U.S., who prepares a BCS entry in ACS. Upon the truck's arrival at the border, the Customs Inspector scans the barcode, which automatically retrieves the entry information from ACS. If no examination is required, the Inspector then releases the truck from the primary booth, reducing the carrier's wait time and easing congestion at the U.S. border.
Link to Highway Carrier Application Process (11 pages)
Link to Mexico FAST Overview (5 pages)
Link to Canada FAST Overview (4 pages)