The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week issued a final rule designed to recoup costs associated with animal and plant inspections by raising fees for all truck-borne imports by 187%.
The final rule, effective Dec. 28, sets the fee for using truck transponders at $301.67, up from the current $105.
And, the one-time fee to cross the border into the United States from Canada or Mexico will increase to $7.55 from $5.25.
The final rule was a follow-up to a proposal issued by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, in April 2014. It said the most recent fee adjustment was in 2009.
“We have determined that revised user fee categories and revised user fees are necessary to recover the costs of the current level of activity, to account for actual increases in the cost of doing business and to more accurately align fees with the costs associated with each fee service,” APHIS said in the rule, published in the Federal Register on Oct. 29.
“Despite its higher cost, purchase of a transponder will still provide cost savings for most cross-border trucking firms — the average number of crossings per firm is 97 per year — and will also reduce their paperwork and wait times,” APHIS said.
In addition to the border inspection fee, U.S. Customs and Border Protection also charges a $100 annual truck inspection fee. Boyd Stephenson, vice president of international supply chain operations for American Trucking Associations, was dissatisfied with the rule. “It’s a terrible imposition, completely inappropriate,” Stephenson told Transport Topics. “We think that it’s a very, very, very bad idea.”