There is hardly a channel, social media post, conversation or meeting that isn’t dominated by talk of the government shutdown. From stories of unpaid workers at TSA calling in sick, to stories about the issues arising on the southern border, there’s a great deal of information circulating. This week’s blog is dedicated to the issues our logistics industry is having with the shutdown so you can separate the sound from the noise and keep getting the job done as best we can.
Most concerning in this situation is the status of CBP as the crux of the shutdown hinges on the southern border of the US and the decision and funding of a wall (or fence, or other physical barrier) and funding. Recently the NCBFAA released a statement explaining the CBP plans for the near future: “CBP is working with other agencies to have the flow of trade as close to normal as possible. While management and leadership will continue to work client representatives and others will not. In the case of an ACE outage, client representatives will be recalled. Ports will be staffed as normal, Trucks will be processed, air cargo and hubs will be working and trains and vessels will all be processed.” The NCBFAA further explained, “all U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) port investigators would be furloughed.” The “shipments that have been targeted, but not arrived for examination, would be released, unless CBP or another PGA has interest or an imminent health and safety issue has been identified.”
For shipments that include food products, fresh cut produce, food borne illnesses, recalls and screening/safety inspections, the FDA announced on January 14, 2019 that high risk inspections would return but be handled by unpaid workers. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained that the FDA is moving into a longer-term phase of its shutdown contingency plans and lower risk commodities would not be inspected. The USDA is another area of major concern as food safety, support and services are no longer operating. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue explained, “There may be a lapse in funding for the federal government, but that will not relieve USDA of its responsibilities for safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide.”
Like most of our readers, we’re dedicated to following these updates as they come out so we can provide the most up-to-date information to our clients. We understand the issues surrounding a full government shutdown are complicated and confusing, especially when they’re coming as fast and furious as this. We encourage our readers to reach out to their Nelson International representatives for help and guidance while the situation gets sorted.