Port of Hueneme CEO Kristen Decas and Northwest Seaport Alliance CEO John Wolfe recently met with Republican leaders on the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security to talk about how an understaffed U.S. Customs and Border Protection is challenging ports and is asking Congress to help fill the staffing gap.
Decas and Wolfe spoke on behalf of American Association of Port Authorities members, saying that the shortfall of at least 1,400 CBP officers limits inspections and causes processing delays and adds to congestion at the ports. Furthermore, ports have had to pay CBP officers overtime to ease congestion, they said.
“Congress must fully fund and invest in CBP to ensure seaports don’t continue to bear the burden of facilitating unbearable demands,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez, Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee. “The work our seaports conduct to facilitate trade and commerce is essential to our economic recovery. Security at our ports has never been more important.”
The AAPA said it is also reaching out to committee Democrats for similar discussions.