US Senators Ask DHS to Boost Staffing at West Coast Ports

US Senators Want DHS to Boost Staffing at West Coast Ports

Four US Senators have urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to increase Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing at the Ports of Seattle, Long Beach, and Los Angeles 

According to a letter signed by Senators Sherrod Brown, Maria Cantwell, Richard Blumenthal, and Tammy Baldwin, extra staffing is needed to give these ports the ability to expeditiously process their container backlogs, which the ports estimate could take up to two months.

The letter follows concerns from Ohio companies whose businesses were affected because of the backlogs, underscoring the importance of port efficiency to American competitiveness.

CBP personnel at ports are responsible for inspecting cargo and passengers at US ports. Last month, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) reached a tentative agreement to address short-term productivity issues at the ports.

While ports have made progress, backlogs continue and more personnel are needed. President Obama’s FY 2016 Budget calls for resources to hire and train up to 2,000 new CBP officers to help process and inspect cargo.

”Efficient ports are key to American competitiveness and to boosting US exports,” said the Senators in their letter.

”We urge you to increase CBP personnel at west coast ports quickly so the backlog of containers can be processed. In addition, we ask you to work with us to make investments in US port infrastructure a priority.”

Image: Port of Long Beach/Facebook

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