02.05.16

Daines, Zinke Fight Latest Effort to Terminate Port of Raymond 24-Hour Operating Status

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Montana Senator Steve Daines and Representative Ryan Zinke today urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to reverse their latest plans to reduce operating hours at the Port of Raymond and terminate the northeastern Montana border crossing’s 24-hour operating status.  

CBP recently announced new plans to implement a pilot program closing the Port of Raymond for six hours per day, between 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.  In a letter to CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, Daines and Zinke criticized CBP for their short-sighted efforts to once again reduce operating hours following their failed efforts to do so last November.

“Past and present efforts by CBP to reduce operational hours at the Port of Raymond fail to recognize the importance of cross boarder travel to local and regional economic activity,” Daines and Zinke wrote. 

Daines and Zinke also underscored the economic importance of the Port to not only Montana’s rural communities, but the entire state. 

“Montana’s largest foreign trading partner is Canada. Over 25,000 Montana jobs are supported by trade with Canada.  In 2014, Canada purchased approximately $564 million of Montana’s goods – 36.5% of the state’s total exports,” Daines and Zinke continued. “As voices for Montana in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives we urge CBP to suspend this latest attempt to unduly harm rural regional commerce by reducing the Port of Raymond’s hours of operation.”

Montanans wishing to make their voices heard and join Daines and Zinke in expressing their frustration with CBP’s decision can contact:

Area Port Director Daniel Escobedo

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

2108 21st Street South

Great Falls, MT 59405

Read the full text of the letter below or download it here:

Dear Commissioner Kerlikowske:

We write again to reiterate our opposition to the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) continued efforts to reduce the operational hours of the Port of Raymond in Northeast Montana.  Past and present efforts by CBP to reduce operational hours at the Port of Raymond fail to recognize the importance of cross boarder travel to local and regional economic activity. 

Currently, the Port of Raymond is open 24 hours per day.  However, we understand that CBP plans to implement a pilot program in March, closing the border six hours per day, between 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.  Conversely, we understand the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has no intentions of reducing their adjacent port’s hours, the Port of Regway. 

Montana’s largest foreign trading partner is Canada. Over 25,000 Montana jobs are supported by trade with Canada.  In 2014, Canada purchased approximately $564 million of Montana’s goods – 36.5% of the state’s total exports.  The Port of Raymond is critical to this trade and is the only port in the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, a designated a Federal high priority corridor by an act of law in 2005.  Prohibiting the continuous flow of goods along the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway impedes Montana’s and the United States’ potential to maximize economic opportunities with Canada. 

As voices for Montana in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives we urge CBP to suspend this latest attempt to unduly harm rural regional commerce by reducing the Port of Raymond’s hours of operation. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to hearing from you. 

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