News: News Alert: PMSA and ILWU protest CBP overtime cuts due to sequestration : 3/27/13

Source: Cargo Business Newswire

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union wrote a joint letter to California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, protesting sequestration measures that would eliminate all overtime for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff because they will “negatively and disproportionately effect California’s seaports as compared to other gateways around the country.”

Coupled with CBP furloughs scheduled for mid-April, the elimination of overtime will “delay ship boarding by the CBP, limit personnel at radiation portal monitors at truck gates and rail operations, eliminate any flexibility to meet peak demand, and will mean limitations on timing of cargo inspections,” said the letter. The missive added that the trains and trucks move 40 percent of cargo that enters the U.S., and processing delays will quickly pile up and become extreme during the CBP April furlough.

The PMSA and ILWU letter requested that the CBP be allowed to withdraw furloughs and restore overtime for its agents in order for California seaports to operate efficiently, noting that with no such flexibility, the net effect of sequestration will be congestion at the state’s marine terminals.

“California’s ports will ultimately choke on the volume of cargo resulting in a range of problems from congestion, additional pollution, spoiled food products and missed opportunities for agricultural exports,” the letter said, asking the senators to intervene with the CBP.

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