Minimize the Impact of Sequestration on Your Supply Chain

March 27, 2013
By Robert Stein

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Since the sequestration was triggered on March 1, your inbox has probably filled with notices of doom and gloom from all manner of sources. Many of us are experiencing “sequestration exasperation” as we get bombarded from all sides with the latest predictions on the effects of these automatic government spending cuts.

You may be wondering how this will affect your imports and exports. According to Customs and Border Protection:

  • decreased service levels in cargo operations
  • increased delays for container exams of up to 5 days or more at major seaports
  • significant daily back-ups at land border ports of entry
  • reduced flexibility to maintain/extend operating hours or respond to requests for new services

While promising to maintain their priority operations, such as their anti-terrorism mission, Customs has promised furloughs, reductions in overtime, and a hiring freeze. These actions will result in a loss of several thousand Customs officers at ports of entry.

Some of these losses will be felt at airports, where wait times for passengers may be as long as 3-4 hours at gateway airports. Land border ports will also feel the cuts, as wait times for cars and pedestrians may double during peak hours at the largest ports.

What does all this mean?

Be prepared for:

  • slower import and export processing
  • Customs and FDA exams to take much longer than normal

How do I minimize the impact on my international supply chain?

1. Become a C-TPAT partner. Customs and Border Protection has committed to maintaining and emphasizing trusted traveler and trader programs such as C-TPAT, FAST, NEXUS and Global Entry. This means that now is the best time to become a C-TPAT partner.

2. Use inland ports to clear cargo. While all ports will be impacted, the sheer volumes at major ocean and air gateways will cause the effect of sequestration to be felt more severely. Smaller inland ports, such as Syracuse, Rochester, and Albany, NY or Cleveland, OH, may not be impacted as severely.

3. Ask us how we can help you through these challenging times. From routing guidance to C-TPAT consulting, Mohawk Global is a partner you can count on.

Robert Stein is a licensed Customs broker, Certified Customs Specialist, and Vice President, Customs & Trade Compliance.