Companies have been on high alert since hearing about a potential shut down of the US-Mexican border, which we reported on in our prior alert. We provide the most up to date information on the situation on the border below:
As we previously reported, although President Trump now does not appear to be actively taking steps to close the border, the Administration has taken actions to address the migrant situation on the Southern border that is disrupting global supply chains.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has already reassigned 545 officers from the Ports to assist Border Patrol and reallocated remaining officers to maximize effect. This has resulted in a significant increase in wait times at ports of entry, which CBP expects will continue. Moreover, it is not just inbound processing that is seeing a dramatic increase in wait times, as both outbound and in-bond processing are impacted by the reallocation of officers from Ports of Entry.
Severe congestion at the El Paso, Texas, Port of Entry is pushing some traffic to other ports and creating additional delays. The ports of both Nogales in Arizona and Laredo in Texas are seeing traffic that was diverted from El Paso. Transportation rates are also growing due to limited truckload availability and increased driver wait times. Trusted traders continue to receive expedited processing, but are reporting problems getting to the trusted trader lanes because of the increased volume at ports.
CBP recently reported on a call with the trade that on April 14, 100 more officers were pulled from the Northern border, airports, and seaports to be sent to the Southern border. The agency warned that if the situation continues, 125 more officers will be pulled on April 28, and 75 on May 12. Currently, CBP says there is little impact on the Northern border, airports and seaports as a result of the reallocation, but that could change if the number of officers being redeployed increases.
To try to avoid delays, importers should be sure to have accurate documentation. Also, while it may be helpful to adjust shipping patterns to different ports or off-peak hours, certain ports will be changing their weekend or extended hours as resources are reallocated, so be sure to check with your local port director for any developments. For example, Mexican authorities and bridge operators have limited the border crossing at Pharr, Texas to commercial trucks-only crossing. CBP hopes restricting the approach for a limited time will relieve congestion by having more capacity at the Pharr bridge for commercial cargo.
The delays can be tracked here. We will continue to monitor the situation to provide future updates.