CBP Seeks Public Input to Help Determine Test Hours of Closure
PLENTYWOOD, Mont. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection held an informational town hall meeting on Feb. 11 to discuss an adjustment to the hours of operation at the Raymond Port of Entry (POE). CBP initially announced plans to eliminate the midnight shift at the Raymond POE in December 2015, but agreed to delay implementation in order to thoroughly explore all options.
CBP announced plans at the town hall to implement a test of reduced hours beginning March 6 at the Raymond POE. CBP will close the port six hours per night during the 60-day test. The town hall enabled the public to provide input to CBP for consideration in determining which hours would least impact trade and the traveling public.
Seattle Field Office Assistant Director Field Operations Trade Christopher Kennally and Great Falls Area Port Director (APD) Daniel Escobedo discussed fiscal responsibility with taxpayer money and the staffing challenges encountered to maintain 24-hour operations at remote locations. They noted that in fiscal year 2015, CBP incurred more than $340,000 in overtime and more than $200,000 in temporary duty costs at the port.
“The Raymond Port of Entry has the lowest volume of commercial import shipments of all commercial ports in Montana,” said APD Escobedo at the town hall. “The midnight shift at Raymond Port of Entry accounts for just 0.66 percent of commercial shipments arriving at all commercial ports of entry in Montana.”
On average a low number of vehicles enter the United States through the Raymond POE on the midnight shift, which runs from midnight to 8 a.m. and the value of cargo entering has decreased by 16.5 percent since fiscal year 2012.
CBP will accept public comments and input until 5 p.m. Feb. 18, regarding which operational test hours would best facilitate border crossings in support of the local community and commercial stakeholders. After evaluating the comments, and prior to the beginning of the test period on March 6, CBP will announce the specific reduced operational test hours for the Raymond POE.
Comments and input may be sent to email@example.com or to:
Area Port Director Daniel Escobedo
Attention: “Raymond-Test Hours”
2108 21st Street South
Great Falls, Montana 59404
Comments and feedback will continue to be accepted throughout the 60-day test period. At the end of the test period, a comprehensive assessment will be conducted using feedback, comments, and a cost savings analysis to make a decision on permanent hours for the Raymond POE.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.