UCP (copy)

Seen here in 2016, CBP Officer Rachel McCormick and Alejandra Galindo of Mexico’s Tax Administration Service (SAT) demonstrate how they work together to inspect cargo at the Mariposa Port of Entry under the Unified Cargo Processing project. Officials say the program has reduced wait times and truck emissions at the border.

A study shows that emissions are down significantly at the Mariposa Port of Entry, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is crediting a pair of truck inspection programs for the change.

The analysis led by the North America Research Partnership in collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Mexican Tax Administrative Service (SAT) calculated emissions reductions at the Mariposa crossing. It showed a “substantial” reduction in queue lengths and crossing times with an approximately 85-percent reduction in carbon dioxide and particulate matter emissions, the EPA said.

The binational Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) program and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) pass are both designed to reduce the wait times of commercial trucks at the port, thereby reducing the amount of time the truck’s engines are producing exhaust.

“Reducing wait times at ports of entry has dramatic impacts on air quality,” said Mike Stoker, EPA Pacific Southwest regional administrator, in a news release. “The binational collaboration to expedite border crossings has important economic and public health benefits by decreasing emissions.”

The UCP program, launched at the port in July 2016, allows Mexican customs officers to work side-by-side with CBP officers to jointly inspect and process cargo shipments destined for the United States, thereby eliminating duplicative cargo inspections and speeding up crossing times.

“When UCP was implemented, the intent was to effect a positive flow of commerce between Arizona and Mexico. Our goal has been realized and many companies have benefited. We are happy to learn that the air quality has also improved dramatically due to the program’s effectiveness,” said Guadalupe Ramirez, Jr., director of field operations for CBP’s Tucson office. 

The UCP program currently processes an average of 375 shipments per day of commodities including medical supplies, electronics, large and small household appliances, computers and car parts, the EPA news release said. The program, piloted in Arizona, currently operates at 10 locations along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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