Service times at vehicle processing facilities (borders, weigh stations, landside marine port gates) are variable, thereby causing transportation planning challenges for carriers that visit them on a regular basis. Carriers must either build in more time than is necessary, therefore underutilizing their equipment, or risk missing delivery windows, which can result in fines or cause lost business opportunities. In this study, border crossing times at Blaine, Washington, are examined. The variability in crossing times at this border crossing, and the impact of this variability on regional supply chains is considered for bi-directional trade. Directional, daily, hourly, and seasonal variations are examined. Interviews with regional carriers were conducted to better understand the current response to variability, the benefit of a reduction in variability, and how this is related to the goods moved or to other business operating characteristics. This paper describes the level of variability in border crossing times and describes carriers’ responses to this variability. It is demonstrated that the primary strategy used, increasing buffer times, reduces carrier productivity. However, this cost is negligible due to the current nature of the market.
Goodchild, Anne; Albrecht, Susan; and Globerman, Steven, "Service Time Variability at the Blaine, WA, International Border Crossing and the Impact on Regional Supply Chains" (2007). Border Policy Research Institute Publications. 86.