Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sequestration Update from FCBF

Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, Inc.
Dear Members of the Trade,
During a recent meetings with U.S. Customs and Border Protection from Port Everglades and PortMiami/SCC with members of the FCBF Board, the budget sequestration (automatic government spending cuts divided equally between defense and non-defense spending) to begin on March 1st was discussed for its potential impact to the trade community.  Due to the budget cuts, CBP has advised that overtime will be significantly reduced and possibly eliminated reducing CBP's flexibility to maintain or extend operating hours. This could result in cargo processing and examination delays due to limited staffing resources at the port and airport.  Possible employee furloughs could go into effect as soon as April 1st.
Port Everglades
Some of the affected areas are:
Agriculture inspections extended weekend & afterhours
Weekend Trade Services for In-bonds and Perishable Cargo Clearances
  • ·         Friday extended hours eliminated
  • ·         Saturday & Sunday overtime eliminated
RPM gate - no change in hours of operation
Marine Vessel Entrance and Clearance overtime request will be significantly reduced.
Phase I
-          Currently no direct impact to normal business hours
o       M-F 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-          Real impact will be on overtime where most of the cuts have been focused although                they still have some funding still available.
-          Priority will be given to perishables: Passengers and Ag. Products (below points are            largely dependent on the furloughs)
o       For public safety reasons, passengers will be given priority although they will also see delays
o       Second priority will be agriculture/perishables
o       Cargo arriving outside normal business hours may experience delays to the following business morning (including weekends rolling over to Monday a.m.)
o       Estimated delays in cargo processing at the port may delay from 1 day to 2-4 days
o       Document processing may delays from 30 minutes to several hours
Phase II
-          Furloughs are still not clear but the earliest they may affect is approximately mid-April            due to notification requirements
o       This may coincide with slack season for the cruise ships that transition in this period and so that might help alleviate delays.
-          Depending on needs there may be redistribution of personnel to areas that are most              needed.
o       Zone employees to the Port to attend to Cruise passengers
o       Econo/CIPS employees to cover Zone/Port
-          CBP will update on a local level as issue are made more clear and they are asking for            input in order to attend to the public needs
o       CARGO: File early, call early- The earlier notification is given to CBP, the quicker and more efficiently they can manage. 
The brokerage and forwarding community should advise their customer base to expect delays in the very near future should the sequestration actually go into effect.
Please note that it is important that the TRADE community understands the CBP does have employees working 7 days a week and 24 hours per day.
The sequestration does not affect the normal working hours of the employees, but their ability to provide services on Overtime or with bringing staff in on Overtime.
The FCBF will provide more information from CBP and other affected government agencies, as it becomes available to us.
For more information please you can visit U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a written testimony before the Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing titled "The Impacts of Sequestration"
fcbf clear 
Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, Inc.
Ph: (305) 499-9490
Fx: (305) 499-9491

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