Since July, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexico Servício de Administración Tributaria (SAT) have worked together to implement 5 joint Unified Cargo Processing programs along the Southwest Border, including a new pilot to be launched in October at the Otay Mesa, CA cargo facility, just south of San Diego. These joint programs eliminate separate inspections on both sides of the border and consolidate both customs services’ operations at one facility, thereby reducing processing and wait times.
This phase of the new pilot at Otay Mesa will be open to participants of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program, a trusted trader program for previously identified low-risk cargo carriers. Unified Cargo Processing not only makes more efficient use of CBP and SAT resources, but also enhances both countries’ economies through enhanced trade flow, and is a great example of how binational cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico can achieve tangible benefits for cross-border commerce. Other Southwest Border locations with joint cargo processing between CBP and SAT include Nogales, AZ, where wait times for trucks had dropped by nearly 85%; San Jeronimo, Chihuahua, Mexico; and more recently, in August, 2017 for the first time in the rail environment, at Laredo, TX. A few unified cargo processing pilots also exist on the U.S./Canada border.