Ports fret over CBP’s demands for new facilities

Maritime port authorities say they are under pressure from Customs and Border Protection to build new on-site facilities for the agency’s officers.

Ports fret over CBP’s demands for new facilities

Maritime port authorities say they are under pressure from Customs and Border Protection to build new on-site facilities for the agency’s officers.

Ports fret over CBP’s demands for new facilities

Maritime port authorities say they are under pressure from Customs and Border Protection to build new on-site facilities for the agency’s officers.

 
Maritime port authorities from around the country say they have come under increasing pressure from Customs and Border Protection to construct new on-site facilities for the agency’s officers.
    “From a port perspective, generally CBP staff already have adequate facilities and in most cases these facilities are occupied on nonrevenue lease terms,” said Kurt J. Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities in a recent letter to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
    “What are the CBP housing concerns with existing facilities? Why do they need to be addressed through new construction in order for CBP to meet its mission?” Nagle asked.
    The AAPA believes that the construction of new CBP facilities at maritime ports should be sought and approved through the congressional process of appropriating and authorizing federal funds, not placed on the backs of state and local governmental authorities.
    Nagle noted that port authorities, especially small and midsize operators, simply lack the additional funds to readily build new CBP facilities.
   “Many ports already are straining their budgets to build the terminal, road and rail infrastructure needed to address congestion, keep freight flowing and serve the American economy,” Nagle told the CBP commissioner. “The costs of the facilities CBP is requesting are substantial, and ports face the prospect of delaying other critical projects to meet increasing demands from CBP for new facilities.”
    In mid-October, Nagle recommended in another letter to both House and Senate homeland security appropriations subcommittees that they consider increasing their respective fiscal 2019 budget appropriation proposals to hire 375 CBP officers to 500, above the current annual attrition rate of 700 CBP officers.
    AAPA also brought to the attention of those House and Senate subcommittees the “disturbing trend” by CBP to pressure port authorities to build new facilities for the agency and the problems related to these infrastructure requests.
    “Often, change orders are requested by CBP at the last minute, driving up building costs unnecessarily,” Nagle said. “There continues to be little concern for budget overruns or timely planning in CBP requests.”
    AAPA urged that a fiscal year 2019 Homeland Appropriations bill include a provision that states within 30 days of the legislation’s enactment that CBP outline current and anticipated infrastructure and equipment requests for public port authorities, including projected costs and timelines for each request.
   “Given the lack of clarity on CBP policy as it pertains to facility and reimbursable programs, we ask that CBP discretionary requests stop or pause until a proper oversight can be conducted,” Nagle told the lawmakers.
The Port of Duluth-Superior is ending the shipping season on a strong note. Through November, grain volume was up 22 percent over last year, and shipments of Minnesota iron ore were outpacing the five-year average by over 25 percent.
JAXUSA Partnership presented JAXPORT CEO Eric Green with the International Industry Leader Award for 2018.
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