Expert's Opinion

Border closure could mean export trouble

By Peter Mayberry, Contributor | October 8, 2011

Peter Mayberry says the move could impact import/export activity between the U.S. and Canada.

The United States bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published notice on October 6, 2011, that it is considering the closure of a border crossing in Vermont known as Morses Line. This crossing is located in the port of entry at Highgate Springs/Alburg and, according to CBP, is “an aging facility” that “requires extensive upgrades and significant financial resources” in order to meet modern standards.

According to CBP, the proposed closure is based on “internal analyses, feedback from many individuals in the local community, and consultation with members of Congress,” and would generate initial net savings of $5.5 million followed by $640,000 in annual savings thereafter. These estimates purportedly factor in the added costs associated with traveling to the next closest border crossing – either Highgate Springs which is about 17 miles to the west, or West Berkshire which is about 10 miles to the east.

To gauge how the proposed closure would sit with local residents, CBP held a town hall meeting in the town of Morses Line on May 22, 2010, where, according to the agency, attendees “conveyed their sentiment that the border crossing should be closed rather than expanded.” Shortly thereafter, however, opposition emerged within Vermont’s Congressional delegation as well as people and businesses outside of Morses Line who rely on the crossing.

Considering that Canada is the leading destination for U.S. exports and the number two source of U.S. imports, this closure could have an impact on members of the nonwovens industry who ship products between the two countries. For industry members who use the Morses Line crossing, therefore, now is the time to comment on its proposed closing. The deadline for filing comment is December 5, 2011, and they can be submitted electronically at under docket number USCBP-2011-0016.

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