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January 10, 2019 at 3:17 pm #18610WillieeArmelliniKeymaster
Good afternoon everyone,
I had a meeting this morning with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and USDA about the upcoming Valentine’s high season.
At the beginning of December I met with CBP and we discussed the opportunity of having the additional 12-15 inspectors come to Miami to help with the Valentine’s rush and additional volumes. CBP headquarters agreed to fund the additional staff at Miami International Airport for 4 weeks! This is huge! (Thank you CBP for working with AFIF for the flower importers)
Then came the government shutdown.
Today, CBP has all of the local staff working doing the inspections, not getting paid, but working to make sure that trade does not stop. All of the CBP inspectors have agreed to continue working and understand the volume increases that come with the Valentine’s season. They are also willing to work on reimbursable overtime if there’s a backup or not enough current staff on that shift.
Because there’s go government funding the additional 12-15 inspectors that were set to come this weekend and start on Monday are on hold. Without the funding to pay for their housing, food and expenses they are not able to come. CBP says that they will continue to have them on hold and as soon as the government gets funding they will have the inspectors come to Miami.
Since today we are not sure if we can get the additional inspectors here for the high volumes, the CBP leaders have reached out to Port Miami, Port Everglades and Ft. Lauderdale airport to see if they have any inspectors that are willing to work at MIA during the high volume season. So, far they have received a few that can help with sending inspectors.
As far as USDA there’s no change. The government shutdown does not affect the Miami identifiers or officers that oversee the fumigations. There’s no change in their services. So, if there are pest identifications needed or fumigations they are fully staffed and available.
I am reaching out to all of the airlines to ask them to send CBP their flight schedules with anticipated volumes, try to send electronic documents to CBP ahead of the flight arrival, work on the samples for inspections ahead of time and be ready for inspections when the inspectors arrive so that they can get the inspections done quickly.
Also, I want to remind everyone that CBP does offer inspections on reimbursable overtime if they do not have enough staff available. This is an option that is offered to the airlines (or brokers if small shipments) to have the inspections done in a timely manner.
As soon as I have any updates on the government funding or further changes I will let all of you know.
If you have any questions about the above or anything else please reach out to me.
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