Seaports Magazine - Winter 2013 - (Page 16)
A focus on customers remains one of the hallmarks of the U.S. Customs
and Border Protection process formalized 20 years ago.
By Meredith Martino
t all comes down to
That's how John Redding, senior vice president
with Belts Logistics Services in Baltimore,
described the attitude that pervades both
his company and the larger port community
that Belts serves.
Belts operates a Centralized Examination Station (CES) in the Port of
Baltimore and has done so for more than
two decades, making them one of the longest-serving CES operators in the country.
A CES is a privately-operated facility
where U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) inspectors can conduct physical
exams of cargo. Moving and storage companies, as well as warehousing companies,
usually operate CES facilities at ports of
entry. CES operators are responsible for
unpacking and repacking cargo containers, and some CES operators also provide
drayage services to move containers from
dockside to the CES facility.
Twenty years ago, CBP formalized the
process that changed the way suspect cargo
moves through ports. Then-Bureau of
Customs and Border Protection finalized
a rule laying out the regulations governing
CES facilities - sites where cargo that is
flagged for inspection is brought, inspected
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and released. Prior to the implementation
of central exam sites, Customs officers
had to inspect cargo on the wharves at
port - regardless of the weather or other
Fast forward to the present, and every
port of entry in the United States has at
least one CES - and some have two or
three - that plays a critical role in safely
moving imported goods into the United
States from abroad.
Enforcement, commercial and agricultural inspections are conducted at
CES facilities, and CBP officers conduct the exams. Other federal agencies,
such as the Consumer Product Safety
Commission and the Food and Drug
Administration, also may conduct cargo
exams at a CES facility.
A local CBP office selects the CES
operator through a bid process that takes
place approximately every three years. Of
paramount concern to the selection process
is having an operator that can meet CBP's
rigorous security requirements. Another
key criterion in the selection process is
the cost of operations at the CES, as those
costs are passed onto the Customs brokers,
freight forwarders and importers who are
customers of the CES. In addition to providing the warehouse space, a CES operator also must bear the cost of testing and
laboratory equipment requirements laid
out by CBP.
A Focus on
"The exams can get quite expensive,"
said John Hyatt, vice president at The Irwin
Brown Company, a family-owned and fullylicensed Customs Broker and International
Freight Forwarder operating in the Gulf
South region. "We try to avoid exams by
'bullet-proofing' the cargo data as much
Still, cargo exams are a fact of life at a
port of entry, whether the cargo is flagged
for suspicious or incomplete data or simply
for random inspection. In those instances,
the CES operator wants the exam experience to be as efficient as possible.
"We like to give importers and brokers
the service they're looking for," said Belts'
Redding. "We like to see throughput."
Redding said that his company participates in a local Federal Agency Quality
Work Group that convenes various federal
agencies, port customers, the CES operator
and representatives from the Maryland Port
Administration. The goal of the Work Group
is to identify problems and solve them so that
the Port of Baltimore is known for its turnaround times and great customer service.
In New Orleans, CBP has committed to a 48-hour turn time and at the end
of each day sends out a log to trade partners
detailing the status of detained containers.
"The operation is very smooth," said
Hyatt. "The purpose of a CES is to better
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Winter 2013
From the President’s Desk
Securing Seaport Cyberspace
Ces Operators Work in Partnership With Port Communities
Radar Technology Opens Up for All Ports
Mccs Keep Ports Running in Case of Emergency
Seaport Industry Gathers in Central Florida for Aapa Annual Convention
Forging His Own Path
All States Depend on Maritime Trade Growth
Maritime Security: 10 Years of Partnerships
Cybersecurity a Growing Threat to Maritime Security
Port Metro Vancouver Announces Funding for Security Expansion
Jamaica-U.n. Sign Mou to Improve Port Security
Integrated Management System Addresses Security at Bahia Blanca
Coastal Trident Training Program Tests Hueneme’s Preparedness
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Winter 2013