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PORTS Caucus urges US to address CBP maritime staffing

Forty-seven members of Congress signed the letter calling for more CBP officers at seaports
The House Ports Opportunity, Renewal, Trade and Security (PORTS) Caucus sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson urging him to allocate more resources to address Customs and Border Protection staffing shortages at US seaports.

In fiscal year 2015, when CBP was funded to hire 2,000 staff, fewer than 20 officers were assigned to seaports.

'We cannot let this disproportionate approach to security continue. Our nation’s seaports handle more than 11 million maritime containers and over 11 million international passengers each year,' the letter stated. 'Annual increases in volume and periodic surges in ship traffic have continually led to repeated dock-side delays in inspecting and clearing cargo. This, paired with a muted response from the Department, creates a ripple effect throughout our economy and supply chain.'

Forty-seven members of Congress signed the letter, which was led by Reps. J. Randy Forbes, a Republican from Virginia; Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Florida; and PORTS Caucus chairmen Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, and Janice Hahn, a Democrat from California.

Maritime CBP funding is a top priority of the American Association of Port Authorities, and AAPA worked closely with the PORTS Caucus on the outreach for the letter.

This week AAPA will testify at a joint hearing titled 'An Examination of the Maritime Nuclear Smuggling Threat and Other Port Security and Smuggling Risks in the US.' The hearing will be held by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security.

David Espie, security director for the Port of Baltimore, will testify on behalf of AAPA.

TAGS: government