While US shippers dependent on some federal agencies to clear cargo are seeing delays at U.S. ports of entry, Savannah’s port has so far dodged that bullet.
Shipments requiring paperwork from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture — all of which face severe staff reductions because of the shutdown — have been delayed up to several hours, according to Marianne Rowden, president and CEO of the American Association of Exporters and Importers.
But U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the primary organization working the Port of Savannah, is among the federal agencies whose mission is considered “essential” and will largely remain intact.
CBP says the shutdown will only furlough about 6,000 out of the 58,000 agency employees. Many offices and port operations will continue functioning as usual.
But the shutdown has resulted in far fewer resources at the EPA, FDA and USDA to process certifications and other documents needed to clear some cargo, Rowden said, adding that shippers of food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, radiological products and environmentally sensitive items should be ready for slower Customs clearance.
The partial shutdown affects the information technology-intensive shipping industry more than just on the Customs clearance side. Filings and data releases from agencies, including the Federal Maritime Commission and the International Trade Commission, have stopped.
The FMC, for example, isn’t accepting a variety of filings, nor is it accepting or acting on complaints and requests for dispute resolution. Source: Savannahnow.com