The agency said that sequestration could result in decreased service levels in cargo operations, including increased and potentially escalating delays for container examinations of up to five days or more at major seaports and up to several hours for truck shipments at land border crossings. This could lead to major bottlenecks at container ports and would cost shippers extra money during the current challenging economic climate.
CBP has issued a set of “cargo priorities under sequestration”, which vowed that security will not be compromised and that mandatory examinations of perishable commodities and agricultural examinations will continue.
CBP said that it has redirected resources toward only the most critical, core functions and discontinued or postponed certain important but less critical activities in an effort to reduce budget expenditures”.
Unlike the recent labour disputes however, ports and shippers won’t need to worry about losing business to rivals because everyone will be in the same boat.
Shippers taking part in CBP’s trader and frequent trader membership programmes for faster processing will continue to receive the same benefits during sequestration.