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Maritime

Port Opens New U.S. Customs And Border Protection Office

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jan 28, 2020

N.C. Ports opened has a newly renovated on-terminal office for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's operations at the Port of Wilmington, according to a news release.

N.C. Ports leaders and officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held an event Tuesday for the office's opening. It was completed in December and supports the agency’s efforts in securing cargo movement through the Wilmington terminal, officials said.

“CBP has long played an important role in the safety and security of our facilities,” said Paul Cozza, executive director of N.C. Ports, in the release. “This new space puts CBP closer to their responsibilities and allows the agency to sufficiently fulfill its duties, which are critically important as cargo volumes grow through North Carolina’s ports.”

The new space provides a "more permanent home for the CBP to operate on our facility," Bethany Welch, spokeswoman for N.C. Ports, said Tuesday.

CBP was previously located at the port in an old modular office, which was destroyed during Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

The new office is in a renovated a section of building that also houses N.C. Ports' police department.

The cost of the project was more than $459,000, which includes the cost of remodeling, utilities, equipment, furnishings and security as required by CBP, Welch said. The port housed the CBP in a temporary space while the renovations were underway.

The CBP is occupying just over 2,200 square feet of space in the terminal building, Welch said.

The new office will “better serve the trade community," a public affairs officer with CBP said in an email.

The new offices features the necessary utilities, equipment, furnishings and security to support the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET), which allows CBP to adequately provide port services, stated the release.

Among its duties, CBP provides border security including daily, port-specific operations such as clearing cargo, collecting duties and other monies associated with imports, officials said in the release.

The national agency also enforces import and export laws and regulations, and performs agricultural inspections to protect the country from potential carriers of animal and plant pests or diseases.

“The completion of this project highlights the valuable partnership between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the North Carolina State Ports Authority,” Scott Opalka, port director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said in the release. “We have a common interest in ensuring the security and economic prosperity of the United States and with the space provided by NC Ports, it will help CBP achieve these goals.”

The CBP has three offices in Wilmington, one off Medical Center Drive, another office at the Wilmington International Airport and the seaport office at the Wilmington terminal, Opalka said.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the N.C. Ports' event took place Tuesday.

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