Tester fights to protect trade in northeast Montana

Senator urges U.S. Customs and Border Protection not to reduce hours at Montana’s Port of Raymond

(Great Falls, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester today is fighting to protect trade across Montana’s northern border by urging the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) not to reduce hours at the Port of Raymond in northeast Montana.

In a letter to CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, Tester noted that the Port of Raymond is a 24 hour port, but CBP is expected to close the port from 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. beginning next month.

“I strongly believe a reduction in hours at this facility harms the United States’ potential to maximize economic growth through increased trade with Canada,” Tester wrote. “This proposal fails to recognize the importance of 24-hour ports in rural areas.”

Tester highlighted that terminating the Port of Raymond’s 24-hour status will force trucks to travel an additional 100 miles to North Dakota or more than 400 miles across Montana to access the nearest 24 hour port. Revoking the Port of Raymond’s 24-hour status would leave a nearly 550 mile gap between 24-hour ports on the northern border.

“To put this in perspective, 550 miles is a greater distance than Detroit to Washington, D.C.,” Tester added.
Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, brought Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Montana-Canadian border in August to see the challenges rural Customs and Border Protection employees are facing.‎

Canada is Montana’s largest trade partner. In 2014 Montana exported $549 million worth of goods to Canada, which represents almost 36 percent of Montana’s total exports.

Tester’s letter to CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske is available HERE.