Seaports Magazine - Winter 2013 - (Page 16)

»FEATURE CES OPERATORS WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PORT COMMUNITIES 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 'I t all comes down to performance." 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. Better Marshaling Customs' Resources 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 16 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE 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 on-dock conditions. 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 Customer Service "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 as possible." 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

AAPA Headquarters
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