LAREDO, TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Laredo Field Office, port management officials, flanked by Laredo, Nuevo Laredo elected officials today dedicated a rebuilt World Trade Bridge cargo facility following a devastating May 2017 weather event and announced future modernization efforts.
“World Trade Bridge is a jewel within the Laredo Field Office’s ports of entry, a facility where we process more commercial trucks than any other port in the nation. Today we celebrate the completion of the buildback of our premier cargo processing facility and we anxiously await more good things in the near future with the WTB 2.0 modernization effort,” said Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office. “The best is yet to come.”
CBP management, Laredo elected officials and a key international trade stakeholder prepare to cut the ribbon for the dedication of the rebuilt World Trade Bridge cargo facility. From left, Past-President, Chairman Enrique Gonzalez, Laredo Licensed U.S. Custom Brokers Association, Port Director Alberto Flores, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, Nuevo Laredo Presidente Municipal Enrique Rivas Cuellar.
A microburst weather event in May 2017 inflicted serious flooding damage to the CBP processing facility at World Trade Bridge and also impacted Secretaría de Administración Tributaria (SAT) Mexico Customs facilities. CBP and SAT immediately implemented business resumption action plans and commercial traffic was temporarily rerouted to Colombia-Solidarity Bridge.
Through a phased-in approach, lines of cargo were gradually restored at World Trade Bridge. Full cargo processing was restored at WTB in late August 2017. CBP kept the trade community apprised of developments through frequent business resumption updates. CBP operated out of a temporary modular facility starting in late July 2017 while repairs were made to the main cargo processing facility and operations there resumed in January 2018.
During today’s facility rededication ceremony, DFO Higgerson in a video presentation shown at the event recounted the history of World Trade Bridge, illustrated the buildback efforts and concluded with a vision of the future, the WTB 2.0 modernization effort, which includes external FAST lanes, state-of-the-art multi-energy portal (MEP) non-intrusive imaging (NII) systems that feed into a common viewer platform housed within a tower-based Command Center that will track all trucks entering and exiting the federal inspection station.
This modernization of World Trade Bridge, together with the buildback of the facility is part an ambitious effort to integrate the latest technologies to process commercial conveyances securely and expeditiously.
The facilitation rededication ceremony also featured presentations by Port Director Alberto A. Flores, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, Nuevo Laredo Mayor Enrique Rivas Cuellar, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and Past President-Chairman Enrique Gonzalez, Laredo Licensed U.S. Custom Brokers Association. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a ribbon cutting was held followed by a facility tour.