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Nogales Port Official: "This border is not here to divide us... The border is here to connect us"

Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 21:15:03-04

The United States and Mexico are performing cargo clearance and examinations at the same time.

The Unified Cargo Processing Pilot allows commercial trucks to get into the U.S. from Mexico at a faster rate. 

The program launched two weeks ago and already cut processing times by 70 percent. 

"What we are trying to do is to remove the cost for the importer, the transportation company from the point of destination, but also to expedite the importation of the merchandise," said Joe Agosttini, Assistant Port Director of Tactical Operations at the Nogales Port of Entry.

Two years ago, inspection times were three and a half hours. Now they are 25 minutes.

This $250 million Mariposa Commercial Facility can handle up to 5,000 trucks a day.

Officials hope this will attract businesses to help the economy for both the U.S. and Mexico, create more jobs, and increase security on both sides. 

"The message is that we are working together," said Guillermo Valencia, Chairman of the Greater Nogales and Santa Cruz County Port Authority. "In this year in presidential elections you hear other things about the border. This border is not here to divide us. This border is here to connect us so what we are doing is showing people if we work together, we come up with great ideas, we can do great work." 

To use the express lane, a business has to be C-TPAT certified. Some trucks will be x-rayed, off loaded or go through canine inspections. 

The pilot program lasts 90 days, but officials said they won't even need all that time since they have already gotten positive feedback.

Agosttini says tourism is very important to them and about $70 million is left in Arizona daily because of the ports of entry. 

Customs' officials hope in the future this program will be at all the border port of entries.