U.S. Customs to extend operating hours at Otay Mesa
The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, in partnership with Mexican Customs and the commercial trade community, said it has expanded hours of operation at the port of Otay Mesa.
The expanded hours are part of a one-month test to see if the changes will result in more efficient processing of cargo trucks entering and leaving the United States, said Adele Fasano, director of field operations in San Diego for U.S. Customs.
During the 30 day test, which began Saturday, and runs during the height of the pre-holiday shipping season, the port's hours of operations for northbound laden trucks will expand by two and one-half hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday hours will extend two hours to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., for laden trucks. Additionally, hours of operation for empty trucks leaving the United States will increase by an hour, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays.
'Our objectives are to accurately determine the hourly distribution of traffic flow and whether the traffic volume is sufficient to reallocate staffing,' Fasano said. 'In return, we expect the trade to make use of all available hours to smooth out the peak traffic and make the entire process more efficient.'
Otay Mesa is the third-busiest cargo port on the U.S. Southwest border, processing 2,900 trucks daily, or almost 700,000 trucks during fiscal year 2003. The pre-holiday season sees a 10-15 percent increase in laden trucks entering the Otay Mesa port with goods bound for U.S. markets.