With so much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there can be information overload when it comes to sorting through all of the updates and alerts. I’d like to present some recent pieces of information that were shared by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as it relates to the operating status of various points within their regular processes.
Presently, there are still no restrictions on air cargo, despite the initial confusion with President Trump’s initial remarks. “Non-essential” travel between the U.S. and Canada will also not apply to cargo, and “essential” travel is categorized by medical, educational, first responders, military, and humanitarian necessities. As such, CBP agents will be using discretion in allowing people to cross borders.
Land border travel has already seen a 65-75% reduction, and while commercial truck crossings remain stable, Detroit and Laredo are expecting decreases due to the closure of automobile factories.
All operating hours remain the same for CBP agents, but there have been CBP agents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Therefore, CBP may have to announce border agent staffing agents if the numbers continue to increase but for now the numbers are manageable.
Like many other people around the world, CBP employees are working remotely to ensure operational continuity. Additionally, they are not anticipating any impact to cargo clearances and releases at this time. Should significant staffing agent issues arise, CBP will consider an extension on entry deadlines provided specific hardship cases are communicated to the agency.
As for the domestic transport side of things, CBP has not implemented any additional screening measures for truck drivers crossing the southern border into the United States. The Mexico customs system has been experiencing technical issues for two days, creating truck delays into Mexico from the U.S. at the southern border. CBP will continue to monitor as necessary.
With information changing by the minute with COVID-19, it can be difficult to decipher the pertinent points for your business. BDP International is here to help you manage these challenges.