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Long wait times at port of entry causing produce import delays

Local businesses in international trade are feeling a pinch from long lines at the bridges along the border.

Grande Produce in San Juan imports a variety of fruits, vegetables and dried foods from Mexico.

However, Raul Cano, vice president of the produce transportation company said they are experiencing a delay in the arrival of those goods.

“What usually took one day to come in and to get out of the U.S. and go back to whichever parts in Mexico [is] now taking about three or four days,” Cano said.

Crispin Flores, president of the Mid Valley Customs Brokers Association meets with Customs and Border Protection monthly and said the long wait times is due to limited personnel.

"We know that resources from this area and actually all along the southern border have been transferred over to other areas to deal with immigration issues,” Flores said. “That has caused delays at the bridge."

It’s delays like this that is costing Cano more money.

"All of those Mexico trucks that are coming across they're taking longer to go back so the problem that we're seeing right now is that we're having a hard time finding trucks in Mexico,” Cano said. “To bring those loads and the few that are available they are increasing The rates so we're paying more money for the freight."

Cano adds the longer the trucks are sitting at the bridge, the shorter the time perishables will have on the shelves.

Grande Produce distributes to businesses locally and across the country.

While they have rooms filled with inventory, Cano said that may change at the rate the lines are moving.

"We're gonna have to be late with our deliveries with our customers and eventually we're not going to have enough product to supply all of our orders,” Cano said.

Flores said he spoke with a Customs and Border Protection official who said they are starting to bring some of the officers back.

CBP declined to comment for this report.

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