North Dakota, Montana legislators looking to extend northern Ports of Entry hours
WILLISTON, N.D. (KUMV) - Traffic crossing from the Canadian border declined due to the pandemic, leading to a reduction of hours at rural ports of entry. As Canada looks to extend their entry hours, North Dakota and Montana legislators want the United States to do the same.
All of the states’ senators and representatives introduced legislation last week requiring US Customs and Border Protection’s hours of operations to match or exceed pre-pandemic hours. Several ports in Montana and North Dakota are closed down early compared to their northern counterparts. One example is the Port of Regway in Canada, which is open 24 hours a day and the Port of Raymond in Montana, which is open from 6 a.m. to midnight.
A letter sent to the department by the delegations said several North Dakota ports close at 4 or 5 p.m. while the Canadian ports remain open until 9 or 10 p.m.
Sen. Kevin Cramer said with the pandemic over, it’s time for the ports to return to normal.
“As we are recovering, we were very slow to respond. In many cases, Canada was more extreme than the United States was, but since then, Canada has returned more to normal while the United States continues to lag,” said Cramer.
Cramer added that he considers Manitoba and Saskatchewan as an extension of North Dakota due to their importance for rural communities.
“We have farmers along the border who do their shopping 10 miles away in Manitoba and Saskatchewan rather than driving 40 or 50 miles to the next town in North Dakota and vice-versa,” said Cramer.
Senators and Representatives from Idaho and Washington are also co-sponsors for the legislation.
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