PHARR, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the General Services Administration (GSA) and the City of Pharr have announced a formal partnership to streamline commercial agriculture processing at the Pharr Land Port of Entry (LPOE).
Under CBP’s Donations Acceptance Program, the City of Pharr will help fund the construction of 24 new secondary inspection bays, enhancing CBP’s ability to process future increases in commercial truck traffic at the Pharr LPOE. Thirteen of the bays will include cold storage unit equipment to ensure produce examinations won’t be compromised by the outside elements.
“With the continued increase of imports from Mexico, especially produce-related commodities, that require an inspection from our agriculture specialists, having these additional dock spaces will have a significant positive impact on our ability to expedite the processing time and get shipments on their way into U.S. commerce,” said Carlos Rodriguez, port director of the Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “The additional cold storage bays will also serve proactively in maintaining the integrity of certain products while they are inspected in climate-controlled areas, rather than exposing them to the South Texas heat.”
In addition, the project will include the construction of a new 10,000-square-foot agriculture inspection and training facility and provide the equipment and tools necessary to outfit the facility. The upgraded facility will enhance the ability of CBP agriculture specialists to perform on-site inspections and testing, further facilitating trade through the Pharr LPOE.
“GSA welcomes the opportunity to partner with CBP and the City of Pharr on this important project that contributes to the efficiency of commercial operations at the LPOE as well as trade with our neighbors to the south,” said Giancarlo Brizzi, acting regional administrator of GSA. “Through donation programs like these, GSA is able expand and enhance port operations in ways previously unavailable to the federal government.”
As a leading port in Texas for agricultural importation, the Pharr LPOE processed nearly 1,800 commercial trucks transporting more than $13 million worth of agricultural products on a given day during fiscal year 2019, according to CBP. These products constituted nearly 15% of all fresh produce imported into the U.S.
“The City of Pharr remains committed to working with our federal partners to identify and implement innovative methods to expedite traffic and trade at our international port of entry, making border crossings and inspections function more effectively while helping our trade partners process and cross their goods more efficiently,” said Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. “We are proud to partner with CBP on this and other Donations Acceptance Program projects that provide creative solutions to meet and address specific federal needs at the local level, and keep international trade and commerce flowing swiftly and smoothly.”
The City of Pharr submitted a formal proposal under the CBP Donations Acceptance Program in December 2015 to improve the Pharr LPOE. The Donation Acceptance Agreement formalizes a project that has been years in the making and allows the parties to begin construction of the new facilities.
Pursuant to 6 U.S.C. § 301a, and more generally, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 6 U.S.C. §§ 112 et seq., as amended, CBP and GSA are authorized to accept donations of real property, personal property (including monetary donations) and nonpersonal services from private sector and government entities. Accepted donations may be used for port of entry construction, alterations, operations, and maintenance activities.
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