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There are some recent reports that keep those of us dependent on the Port of Miami's ("POM") success happy. The first report comes courtesy of the Maritime Executive, which confirms that POM has been working hard to bring back transshipment to Miami, in concert with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"). The second report comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration ("MARAD"), which today released a study on shipping patterns, which identifies POM as a "major U.S. port" targeted for modernization and with that, federal dollars to be allocated for infrastructure projects.
Prior to 9-11, transshipment made up over 22% of the cargo trade at Port Miami. However due to CBP’s increased inspections of transshipment goods in our post 9-11 world, those transshipment cargoes are going through Panama, Freeport, and Kingston. resulting in cargo delays and added expenses. A specific example of the resulting cargo delays and added expense in these inspections is CBP’s intensive examination of goods checking for intellectual property rights violations, and seizing goods that are non-compliant, when alternative ports are not as proactive. CBP confirmed that after 9-11, almost all transshipment cargo was inspected, now, CBP is down to under 5%.
POM Director Bill Johnson asked the CBP to develop a pilot program, “with a transshipment inspection protocol pilot for Port Miami.” CBP leaders are reportedly active on this new transshipment committee. CBP has assigned a “Customer Service Manager” Robert Martin, Chief of ATCET will take on this role. Terminal operators will have direct contact with Chief Martin to discuss delays and help facilitate the flow of legitimate cargo.
The terminals will provide CBP a list of all in transit merchandise, in advance, and CBP promised to coordinate the expediting review of in transit merchandise (as CBP does for perishable goods). CBP will also coordinate physical exam efforts to assure goods are examined and released expeditiously so the goods can make their next sailing.