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Homeland Security


Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Cargo Risk Assessment Program

The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a Border Accord Initiative between the United States, Mexico, and Canada designed to ensure security and safety while enhancing the economic prosperity of each country. In developing this program, Mexico, Canada and the United States have agreed to coordinate, to the maximum extent possible, their commercial processes for clearance of commercial shipments at the border. This will promote free and secure trade by using common risk-management principles, supply chain security, industry partnership, and advanced technology to improve the efficiency of screening and clearing commercial traffic at our shared borders.

Eligibility for the FAST program requires participants (carrier, drivers, importers, and southern border manufacturers) to submit an application, agreement, and security profile depending on their role in the Customs and Trade Partnership Against terrorism (C-TPAT) and FAST programs. The FAST program allows known low risk participants to receive expedited border processing. This enables U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to re-direct security efforts and inspections where they are needed most - on commerce that is high risk, or unknown risk - while ensuring the movement of legitimate, low-risk commerce.

When decisions are made to elevate the national threat level, all CBP personnel must be cognizant of the heightened threat of terrorism as well a mandated increase in examinations of cargo and conveyances. Elevated alert levels should have no adverse impact on FAST processing. While other conveyances and cargo will be subject to a greater degree of inspection, FAST shipments are considered known low risk. As such, their processing should continue under normal guidelines during heightened alert levels.

The FAST program is voluntary. The benefits for those that apply and are accepted into the FAST program include:

  • Dedicated lanes (where available) for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST Trans-border shipments;
  • Reduced number of examinations for continued compliance with Customs FAST requirements as well secondary priority processing;
  • A strong and ongoing partnership with the Canadian Partners in Protection (PIP) and Customs (C-TPAT) administrations;
  • Enhanced supply chain security and safety while protecting the economic prosperity of the United States, Mexico, and Canada; and,
  • For carrier participants, the knowledge that they are transporting shipments for a C-TPAT approved importer, and on the southern border, a C-TPAT manufacturer.

The initial phase of FAST processing for U.S. bound commercial shipments began in December 2002 at the port of Detroit, Michigan. Today, CBP has implemented FAST processing at the following northern and southern border crossings:

Northern Border:

  • Alexandria Bay, New York
  • Blaine, Washington
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Champlain, New York
  • Derby Line, Vermont
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Houlton, Maine
  • Pembina, North Dakota
  • Port Huron, Michigan
  • Portal, North Dakota
  • Sweetgrass, Montana

Southern Border:

  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Calexico, California
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Laredo, Texas
  • Nogales, Arizona
  • Otay Mesa, California
  • Pharr, Texas



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