U.S. Customs and Border Protection, along with the vessel operator of Ferries del Caribe , the implementation of the first Automated Passport Control (APC) System on board the San Juan-Santo Domingo ferry.
The formal announcement was made at the Pan American dock in San Juan, with participation from leadership of America Cruise Ferries, parent company of Ferries del Caribe, and representatives from Puerto Rico’s Department of State, Department of Economic Development and Commerce, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the Puerto Rico Port Authority.
“APC’s have been adopted at international airports around the nation providing travelers shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing,” indicated Edwin Cruz, area port director. “With this APC on board the ferry, passenger clearance is facilitated in such a complex operation while sustaining our security standards.”
The APC is a program that expedites the entry process for U.S. citizens, U.S. legal permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Visa Waiver Program eligible international travelers, and travelers entering with a B1/B2 or D visa, by providing an automated process through CBP’s Primary Inspection area.
Travelers use self-service kiosks to respond to CBP inspection related questions and submit biographic information. APC is a free service, does not require pre-registration or membership, and maintains the highest levels of protection when it comes to the handling of personal data or information.
The BorderXpress kiosks operated by Vancouver International Airport’s Innovative Travel Solutions was the culmination of a five-month pilot program using two machines.
The pilot program illustrated the effectiveness of BorderXpress kiosks in expediting passenger processing, while also improving the overall passenger experience by streamlining and simplifying the border clearance process without compromising safety.
“Today marks a momentous occasion for the cruise ship industry, and we are proud that our line of BorderXpress self-serve kiosks were chosen as part of this industry first,” said Chris Gilliland, director of ITS, Vancouver Airport Authority.
“No matter where they are implemented, BorderXpress kiosks enable immigration officers to process more passengers per hour, reduce passenger wait times and overall operating costs, and free up border officers to focus on security, intelligence and enforcement activities,” Gilliland said.
APC kiosks were installed on board the vessel M/V Kydon, which navigates between the ports of San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, transporting passengers, vehicles and cargo, three times a week.
“This is a celebratory day for Ferries del Caribe as we become the first in the world to install border control kiosks onboard a passenger ship,” said Néstor González-García, president of Ferries del Caribe.
“We’re delighted to partner with Innovative Travel Solutions to implement the BorderXpress kiosks, which allow us to modernize our border clearance process and ensure our passengers have an enjoyable and seamless experience on their trip with us,” he said.
More than 1,300 BorderXpress kiosks are currently in use at 39 airport and seaport locations. As of December 2017, BorderXpress kiosks have processed over 160 million passengers in 36 languages.
During the announcement, America Cruise Ferries shared that two of its strategic business units, Marine Express and Priority Ro Ro, became part of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
C-TPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program which recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the principle stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers.
When an entity joins CTPAT, an agreement is made to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to align security throughout the supply chain.