When the government couldn’t reach a deal on a funding bill on December 21st, due to the precarious inclusion of funding for a border wall, a shutdown began throughout the nation, furloughing workers. The issues surrounding the shutdown reach deep into the logistics industry as CBP, the TSA and other agencies are either not working or working without pay creating animosity on top of the stoppage.
The NCBFAA released a statement. “CBP is working with other agencies to have the flow of trade as close to normal as possible. While management and leadership will continue to work client representatives and others will not. In the case of an ACE outage, client representatives will be recalled. Ports will be staffed as normal, Trucks will be processed, air cargo and hubs will be working and trains and vessels will all be processed.” The NCBFAA went on, “all U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) port investigators would be furloughed.” The “shipments that have been targeted, but not arrived for examination, would be released, unless CBP or another PGA has interest or an imminent health and safety issue has been identified.”
The USDA is another area of major concern as food safety, support and services are no longer operating. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue explained, “There may be a lapse in funding for the federal government, but that will not relieve USDA of its responsibilities for safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide. Our employees work hard every day to benefit our customers and the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our programs. During a shutdown, we will leverage our existing resources as best we can to continue to provide the top-notch service people expect.” Services that have been shut down include those designed to assist farmers, a problematic issue for an industry that has been in the news due to trade negotiations and subsidies that are now on hold but were designed to supplement a loss of sales that arose.
On January 14, 2019 the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that food inspections which were halted would return on the commodities that are at highest risk. Inspections of “fresh cut produce, food borne illness outbreaks, dangerous recalls, import screening and safety inspections of foods imported from overseas” will now be handled by unpaid workers. The FDA is moving into a more long-term phase of shutdown contingency plans to assuage the worries about food and safety inspections being halted while negotiations continue. Inspections on lower risk facilities are still suspended, but high-risk facilities are being inspected, albeit slowly, by workers who aren’t sure when they’ll see a paycheck.
Stories of the TSA struggling to staff its terminal check points have been widely reported as more workers are calling in sick as they’re unable to commute to work or make ends meet as the shutdown extends into the fourth week. Apart from the government workers, there are myriad contract employees who are also dealing with ramifications of the shut down. Large contractors can ride out the storm by choosing to pay workers that are on furlough or maintain employees with essential personnel. An example of this comes from some national security positions where communications and IT networks are supported by contractors who are still working as federal employees are on site to ensure the safety and security of essential programs.
We at Everglory Logistics understand this shutdown has complicated issues surrounding the logistics industry and we’re here to help. Please feel encouraged to reach out to your Everglory representative with any questions or concerns you have about your freight. We may not have a crystal ball, but we can work with you to ensure you’re still using the best available practices to meet your clients’ needs.