Variable service times at vehicle processing facilities (borders, weigh stations, landside marine port gates) cause transportation planning challenges for companies that regularly visit them. Companies must either build more time into their schedules than is necessary, and therefore underutilize their equipment, or risk missing delivery windows or exceeding hours of service regulations, actions that can result in fines, lost business opportunities, or other logistical costs. Border crossing times are examined at Blaine, Washington, between Whatcom County, Washington, and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, to assess the variability in crossing times at this border crossing and the impact of this variability on regional supply chains. Variability data collected for bidirectional trade are presented. Directional, daily, hourly, and seasonal variations are examined, and interviews are conducted with regional carriers to better understand the current response to variability, the benefit of a reduction in variability, and how that is related to the goods moved or to other business operating characteristics. This paper describes the level of variability in border crossing times and carriers’ responses to this variability and shows that the primary strategy used, increasing buffer times, reduces carrier productivity. However, this cost is negligible because of the current nature of the industry.
Goodchild, Anne Victoria, Susan Albrecht, and Steven Globerman. "Service time variability at the Blaine, Washington, international border crossing and the impact on regional supply chains." (2007).