Correction: The original article was written in advance of the hearing and has been updated to accurately reflect the full panel of witnesses and further clarify testimonies.
AAPA’s president and CEO, Chris Connor, and a diverse panel of port leaders testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations in a virtual hearing titled Assessing the State of America’s Seaports on January 19. Connor appeared alongside AAPA members Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles; Cathie Vick, chief development and government affairs officer for the Port of Virginia; and Richert Self, executive director of the Port of Lake Charles. Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union – representing CBP officers – also testified. The port leaders used the opportunity to tell Congress about the challenges faced at their ports, including supply chain backups, cargo processing speed, disaster relief and recovery, and inspection issues. Connor discussed the unprecedented efforts made by seaports throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, as well as the importance of the continuing role of ports as gateways to commerce and a first line of defense against potential threats. Other covered topic areas included screening staff shortages at CBP, screening facility upgrades and maritime cybersecurity. Read Connor’s full testimony here and watch a recording of the hearing here.