At today's monthly CBP / Trade meeting we were briefed about the current status of operations at the Laredo Field Office Ports of Entry. Operations have been affected due to the re-assignment of officers to help Border Patrol with migrant processing at other ports.
Armando Taboada – Assistant Director, Laredo Filed Office, Brad Skinner - Deputy Director, Laredo Field Office, Albert Flores - Laredo Port Director, David P. Higgerson – Director, Laredo Field Office (Laredo Field office covers 8 ports of entry from Brownsville, TX to Del Rio, TX)
Those present heard comments from:
- David P. Higgerson – Director, Laredo Field Office
- Brad Skinner - Deputy Director, Laredo Field Office
- Armando Taboada – Assistant Director, Laredo Filed Office
- Albert Flores - Laredo Port Director
- 15-20% of their staff has been reassigned to assist Border Patrol with the immigration issue, about 750 officers.
- Due to short staff, some of the bridge lanes are closed.
- World Trade Bridge – out of 15 lanes, 6 are open for regular cargo and 3 for FAST.
- Colombia Bridge – 2 regular and 1 FAST lane are open
- World Trade Bridge – usually processes 8,000 northbound daily, they are currently processing 5,000. 3,000 trailers backed up in Mexico.
- Colombia Bridge – usually processes 1,700 northbound daily, they are currently processing 1,000. 700 trailers backed up in Mexico.
- Southbound shipments and northbound Fast and rail shipments are not being affected by any delays. (in reality, if any delays they are due to the tractors sitting somewhere – shortage on drayage tractors)
- CBP is looking into solutions, such as opening all lanes during the week and closing on weekends. Any changes, the trade will be notified 5 days in advance.
- Port of Laredo has no plans to close this weekend to comercial traffic.
- Some small ports have already started closing on weekends such as Mariposa Commercial Facility in the port of Nogales, AZ. and at Eagle Pass, TX
- Advise your clients to take advantage of crossing as early as possible to avoid further delays
- The average time of a truck crossing is 4 hours from when the trailer arrives at the Mexican toll booth to the CBP primary lane. That does not count the line on the Mexican side, which can be a couple of miles long. This is being measured manually by CBP at all ports.
- CBP is working with MX Customs to stop the flow of traffic by 11:00 pm, so CBP can process all trailers that are on the bridge by midnight.
- CBP will be putting something out in writing since MX news is reporting incorrect information.
- Before the immigration issues, Border Patrol should of had 27,500 employees but they were at 25,000 – short staffed. From the time an employee is hired to the time to work on the field, is 16 months.
- Another 2,000 employees from the DHS other agencies will be moved to help Border Patrol too.
- CBP will also be closing passenger bridge lanes which will affect the MX holidays (holy week and 5 de Mayo), expect major delays.
- No need to port shop, all southern ports are working the same. They are being consistent, small ports have even less personnel.
- All ports across the southern border are in constant communication
Any major updates will be shared with the trade as soon as possible