Delays in Mexican produce crossing the border, which also means in delays for produce haulers picking up product at distribution centers, is occurring at Nogales, AZ…..Also, bananas are now arriving for the first time by boat at Wilmington, NC.
Nogales is a leading port of entry for Mexican fresh vegetables, amounting to $2 billion in 2016, is having delays due in large part from a shortage of officers.
A shortage of as many ad 300 officers is reported a US. Customs and Broker Protection (CBP). The results are long lines delaying produce border crossings.
Citing security reasons the CBP doesn’t reveal exactly how many officers are currently working at the gateway. However, they acknowledge the port is rotating staff by bring in officers from other ports around the U.S. to Nogales for 90-day work assignments. As many as 175 officers have relocated to the Nogales for temporary duty, reports the National Treasury Employees Union.
In 2016 alone, $8.3 billion worth of U.S. exports when from Arizona into Mexico. Also in 2016, $7.4 billion in Mexican goods were imported into Arizona.
Not only is commerce adversely affected by the delays at Nogales, but travelers looking to cross the border are looking at lengthy delays.
Anthony Reardon, president of the Nogales, National Treasury Employees notes CBP’s protracted and complicated hiring process, strict polygraph testing, and extensive training times are all at play when he recently testified before congress. This has resulted in 3700 vacant positions for the agency, simply due to the 12 to 18 month hiring process.
Banana Imports at Wilmington
Bananas imported from Central America recently began arriving at the Port of Wilmington (NC). The inital arrival marks the beginning of a 12-month commitment to bring weekly deliveries of bananas for distribution by truck to distribution centers across North Carolina and South Carolina.
Wilmington is the first South Atlantic port to implement both phases of the Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program, which allows for more direct imports of produce.