US Government Shutdown: Transportation, Logistics and Customs

Posted by AMS / Friday, January 11, 2019

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The partial US Government shutdown is a fact of life, at the moment, and we all hope it will end soon. In the meantime, businesses turn their attention to the effects of the shutdown on their operations.

For the most part AMS is unaffected by the shutdown once goods are received in our warehouses. This includes order processing and the outbound domestic and international small package shipments. But many of our Clients import goods that require federal services from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and services involving cross border clearance.

The following is a brief overview of the effects of the shutdown on US and international transportation and logistics and importers, exporters.

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The US Department of Transportation (DOT) employees are at work, as that agency is not subject to furlough. Funding for DOT’s Federal Highway Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) comes from the Highway Trust Fund, which means they don’t depend on congressional appropriations. DOT did stipulate that the situation may change based on the length of the shutdown.

Rail transportation is not supported by a trust fund, and it is affected, so the Federal Railroad Administration employees are on furlough.

Roadside truck inspections continue, as do most highway projects involving federal money. Airport operations continue as usual, however truckload border crossings are experiencing delays. Air and ocean imports are seeing delays, since there are many government agencies involved in this process.

The US ports and borders are being protected, and they are open for trade as Entry Specialists are working, but a number of processes have been shut down. There are delays in clearing the ports as US Customs and Border Protection is affected, and has put a number of employees on furlough.

Once containers have cleared the ports they still may need to get the stamp of approval from a number of government agencies, including the US Department of Agriculture, US Consumer Product and Safety Commission, Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency, so further delays may be in store.

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has cut back its operations, and the National Maritime Center (NMC) and all Regional Exam Centers (RECs) are closed. No new Foreign Trade Zones are being approved and processing is slowed down.

As we look for the US Government partial shutdown to reach an end soon, we will continue to monitor the situation, and offer whatever support we can provide to our Clients as needed.

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