NEXUS: Facilitating Detroit-Windsor Commerce

Go Lean Commentary

Trade and location go hand in hand. Until globalization took root, the quest was always to do business in a nearby marketplace. Even now there is a Green Conservation movement to return to those principles, to minimize energy usage by growing most foods locally and consuming locally. This move uses the tagline: Think Global, Buy Local!

In Marketing 101, a basic tenet is “location, location, location”.

But what if that location is at the cross-roads of countries, borders and independent states?

The same precepts should apply, only with more coordination.

This is a lesson learned from the Detroit-Windsor metropolitan area; but this lesson is fitting for application throughout the Caribbean.

This consideration by the publishers of the book Go Lean … Caribbean, a roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), is a continuation of the effort to “observe and report” on the turn-around of the once great City of Detroit. Previous commentaries alluded that transportation options are critical to this metropolitan’s area’s revitalization. Now that consideration extends across the international border for the US and Canada. Detroit aligns the west-side of the Detroit River (see Appendix below); the east-side is the City of Windsor in the Canadian Province of Ontario. Despite the two cities and two countries, this area is actually just one “single market”.

The vision of the Go Lean roadmap is a “single market” out of all the Caribbean 30 member-states of independent countries and overseas territories. Since so many individual states are in close-proximity with other states, many times of different jurisdiction and even language, cross border coordination is fitting for deployment within this region. Consider these examples:

  • Haiti – Dominican Republic: Shared island with a border
  • St. Martin – Saint Maarten: Shared island with a border
  • Lesser Antilles: Neighboring islands, 30 to 40 miles apart
  • Trinidad – Venezuela: 7 mile strait
  • US – British Virgin Islands: 6 Major Islands 30 to 40 miles apart

The Go Lean roadmap calls for the deployment of ferries, railroads, tunnels, bridges, causeways, light-rail streetcars, natural-gas powered vehicles/buses and toll roads, all part of the effort to empower the region through transit (Page 205).

In order to facilitate commerce between the Caribbean member-states, there is the need to efficiently and effectively process Customs and Border Inspections. The Detroit-Windsor model furnishes a great example of pre-registering stakeholders as “Known Travelers” and then allowing this efficient border crossing system branded as NEXUS. See details here of the program and aligned products/features (NEXPRESS Toll Cards/Transponders and DWT Mobile App):

The NEXUS alternative inspection program has been completely harmonized and integrated into a single program. NEXUS members now have crossing privileges at air, land, and marine ports of entry. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the NEXUS card has been approved as an alternative to the passport for air, land, and sea travel into the United States for US and Canadian citizens.

The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing by United   States and Canadian officials at dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry, at NEXUS (CA Entry) and Global Entry (US Entry) kiosks at Canadian Preclearance airports, and at marine reporting locations. Approved applicants are issued a photo-identification, proximity Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card. Participants use the three modes of passage where they will present their NEXUS card, have their iris scanned, or present a WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) and make a declaration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are cooperating in this venture to simplify passage for pre-approved travelers.

What are the Benefits of NEXUS?
Individuals approved to participate in NEXUS receive an identification card that allows them to:

  • Receive expedited passage at NEXUS-dedicated lanes, airport kiosks, and by calling a marine telephone reporting center to report their arrival into the United States and Canada; and
  • Cross the border with a minimum of customs and immigration questioning

NEXUS applicants only need to submit one application and one fee. Applicants may apply on-line via the CBP Global On-Line Enrollment System (GOES) Web site. Qualified applicants are required to travel to a NEXUSEnrollmentCenter for an interview. If they are approved for the program at that time, a photo identification card will be mailed to them in 7-10 business days. NEXUS allows United States and Canadian border agencies to concentrate their efforts on potentially higher-risk travelers and goods, which helps to ensure the security and integrity of our borders.

How Do I Apply?

Applications can be submitted using the CBP on-line application system, Global On-Line Enrollment System (GOES), or to one of the Canadian Processing Centers (CPC), along with photocopies of their supporting documentation and the US $50 or CN $50 application-processing fee.


As a NEXPRESS TOLL card holder you can take advantage of dedicated lanes, express toll lanes and expedited crossing-service to get to your destination faster.

o Travel to Caesars Windsor, Detroit Tigers baseball, Red Wings hockey, and other attractions… fast.

Are you commuting to work, visiting top restaurants, gaming in the Detroit Casinos and/or Caesars Windsor [Casino], attending your favorite sporting events and attractions, or just visiting family and friends?

No matter the destination, we’ll try to get you there as fast as possible.

Located between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, our tunnel connects the U.S. interstates to Ontario’s Highway 401. In fact, the Detroit Windsor Tunnel provides one of the fastest links between Canada and the United States.

o Use our expanded inspections facilities that ease the Customs and Immigration process.

As part of the U.S.Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), the United States requires that all travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, present a specific document to enter the United States by air, land or water:

  • A valid Passport, a Passport Card, a Nexus card, or
  • An Enhanced Michigan Driver’s License, a FAST Card
  • Commercial Carriers

Have you replaced your larger vehicles with vans for environmental and economic reasons? You may enjoy a savings of up to 25% on toll and volume discounts!

And with our commercial credit system, you can take advantage of faster processing at the toll booths, automatic fare calculation by vehicle weight, easier record-keeping, and top-notch customer service.

o Tunnel Bus

Check out The Tunnel Bus, operated by Transit Windsor. With this exclusive feature of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, you can leave the driving to us and enjoy quick, cost-effective trips between downtown Windsor and Detroit.


VIDEO: – American Roads – “Innovating Mobile, Transit, Tolling and Parking technologies”

DWT Mobile
 CU Blog - NEXUS - Facilitating Detroit-Windsor Commerce - Photo 1

DWT Mobile is a free app now available for Apple and Android devices!

Cross the border faster and pay only $4.25 per trip with your smartphone! Pre-purchase your trips, show the barcode at the gate, and be on your way. You will save time, save gas, AND save money!
(Source: Detroit – Windsor Tunnel Authority – Retrieved December 11, 2014 )

As the once great City of Detroit attempts to re-boot, remake and revive its metropolitan area, cross-border regionalism is very important to foster commerce in the wider metropolitan area. There is the need to efficiently move people between these “states” to facilitate live, work and play options.

There are security issues as well. The Appendix (Outlaw History/Prohibition) relate past challenges on the Detroit River. (The Caribbean was also complicit in Prohibition-era security breaches).

Customs and Border operations facilitates security as well as commerce. The NEXUS model demonstrate how technology can be employed to foster efficiency in this process. “Known Traveler” processing can be used to filter daily/occasional commuters, so that security officials can focus more attention on high-risk/high-threat cargo and passengers.

The Go Lean book asserts the economic principle that “voluntary trade creates wealth” (Page 21); the more trade the more wealth. The roadmap anticipates the challenges that port cities and border towns, (like the role of Detroit for the US), would have to endure and changes they must foster to help grow the regional economy. These points were pronounced early in the book, in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14), with these statements:

vi.     Whereas the finite nature of the landmass of our lands limits the populations and markets of commerce, by extending the bonds of brotherhood to our geographic neighbors allows for extended opportunities and better execution of the kinetics of our economies through trade. This regional focus must foster and promote diverse economic stimuli.

xvi.   Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiii.  Whereas many countries in our region are dependent OverseasTerritory of imperial powers, the systems of governance can be instituted on a regional and local basis, rather than requiring oversight or accountability from distant masters far removed from their subjects of administration. The Federation must facilitate success in autonomous rule by sharing tools, systems and teamwork within the geographical region.

xxvi.  Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries… In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries … impacting the region with more jobs.

xxx.   Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

The CU mission is to implement the complete eco-system to expand interstate trade in the region. There are many strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies that will facilitate this mission; a sample is detailed here:

Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Economic Principles – People Choose because Resources are Limited Page 21
Economic Principles – All Choices Involve Costs Page 21
Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Economic Principles – Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Department of Commerce – Interstate Commerce Page 79
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Department of Transportation – Turnpike Operations Page 84
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up – Command-and-Control Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean – Union Atlantic Turnpike Page 127
Planning – Ways to Improve Trade Page 128
Planning – Ways to Improve Interstate Commerce Page 129
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Local Government Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Natural Resources Page 183
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Main Street Page 201
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Transportation Page 205
Advocacy – Ways to Develop the Auto Industry Page 206
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living – Transit Options Page 234
Appendix – Alaska Marine Highway System Page 280

The world is preparing for changes to more efficient border crossing and customs operations, as demonstrated in Detroit. This is a tenet of globalization: less Customs duties-less barriers, plus easier access to foreign markets, customers and patrons. The Caribbean must compete better in this global marketplace by first optimizing interstate trade in the regional market. This blog commentary touches on many related issues and subjects that affect planning for Caribbean empowerment in this trade and transportation industry-space. Many of these issues were elaborated upon in these previous blog/commentaries:

M-1 Rail: Detroit’s Alternative Transit to Expand Commerce
Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies and improve this trade
DC Streetcars – Model For Caribbean Re-development
Growing Trade and Transport – The NYNJ Port Authority Model
Trains and Trucks play well together

The Go Lean book introduces the “Union Atlantic” Turnpike as a big initiative of the CU to logistically connect all CU member-states for easier transport of goods and passengers. Crossing borders means there must be “Customs” operations embedded in this Turnpike structure; Known Traveler processing, as modeled by the NEXUS program, allows for the empowerments described here in this blog commentary and in the 370 pages of the Go Lean book. This plan refers to multiple transportation arteries envisioned for the Turnpike: Tunnels, Pipelines, Ferries, Tolled Highways, and Railroads.

The Caribbean needs help with transportation options, jobs, security and growing the economy; plus the heavy-lifting tasks of motivating our youth to impact their future here at home… in the Caribbean; as opposed to the recent history of societal abandonment. Detroit as a model, teaches many lessons: good, bad and ugly.

Let’s pay more than the usual attention to these lessons, examining how the Detroit metropolitan area has managed the agents of change; much is dependent on our applying lessons learned.

The people of the region are urged to “lean-in” for the Caribbean empowerments as described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. The benefits of this roadmap are very alluring: emergence of an $800 Billion single market economy and 2.2 million new jobs.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – Outlaw History / Prohibition (

CU Blog - NEXUS - Facilitating Detroit-Windsor Commerce - PhotoThe Detroit River is a 24-nautical-mile-long[1] river that is a strait in the Great Lakes system.[2] The name comes from the French Rivière du Détroit, which translates literally as River of the Strait. The Detroit River has served an important role in the history of Detroit and is one of the busiest waterways in the world.[3] The river travels west and south from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie, and the whole river carries the international border between Canada and the United States. The river divides the major metropolitan areas of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario — an area referred to as Detroit–Windsor. The two are connected by the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit–Windsor Tunnel.

On January 16, 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment of the US Constitution was ratified, ushering in Prohibition in the country of the United States, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. To go into effect one year after its ratification, the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption were nationally banned. Detroit was (and still is) the largest city bordering Canada, where alcohol remained legal during Prohibition.

Detroit became the center of a new industry known as rum-running, which was the illegal smuggling or transporting of alcoholic beverages or any other illegal drinks during Prohibition. There were no bridges in the area connecting Canada and the United States until the Ambassador Bridge was finished in 1929 and the Detroit–Windsor Tunnel in 1930. Since ferry services were inoperable during the winter months, “rum-runners” traveled across the frozen Detroit River by car to Canada and back with trunk loads of alcohol. Rum-running in Windsor became a very common practice. This led to the rise of mobsters such as the Purple Gang, who regularly traveled across the frozen river and used violence as a means to control the route known as the “Detroit-Windsor Funnel” — parodying the newly built tunnel.[12] The river typically freezes over during much of the winter. Detroit became the leader in the illegal importation of alcohol, which found its way all over the country.

CU Blog - NEXUS - Facilitating Detroit-Windsor Commerce - Photo 3The Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair River (another strait connecting Lake St. Clair with Lake Superior) carried 75% of all liquor smuggled into the United States during Prohibition. During warmer months, specialized boats were used to haul alcohol across the river. There was no limit on the methods used by rum-runners to import alcohol across the river. Government officials were unable or unwilling to deter the flow of alcohol coming across the Detroit River. In some cases, overloaded cars fell through the ice, and today, car parts from this illegal era can still be seen on the bottom of the river. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution, the rum-running industry ended.[3][13][14]


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