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Friday, June 14, 2024

New LA/LB Seaport Port Director Africa R. Bell Sworn In During Change of Command Ceremony

The LA/LB Seaport processes 30% of all international sea containers arriving into the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) yesterday hosted a Change of Command Ceremony to formally instate Africa R. Bell as Port Director for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport (LA/LB).

The LA/LB Seaport is comprised of the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, and Port Hueneme. Combined the ports processed 33.8% of all international sea containers arriving into the United States. Port facilities include 13 container terminals, 3 centralized examination sites, 89 Foreign Trade Zone sites, 47 bonded warehouses, 131 container freight stations, 5 General Order warehouses, and 2 cruise ship terminals.

“To see Africa hit this milestone in her career is truly remarkable, I can’t think of anyone better suited to lead this workforce, she was meant for this job, not just because of her talent, skillset and incredible leadership, but because of her passion and how much she cares,” said Jennifer De La O, Acting Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations (OFO).

“In every position Africa brings her openness to work, to look at the facts Africa leads by example, she is someone that bring the best of those around her,” said Susan S. Thomas Executive Director Cargo and Conveyance Security.

“Her leadership is unquestionable, Africa leads the LA/Long Beach seaport with integrity, a clear focus on the mission, and a true care for the workforce,” highlighted Cheryl M. Davies, Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.

“She brings a wealth of experience, steadfast commitment to excellence and an unwavering dedication to our mission,” remarked Donald R. Kusser, outgoing Port Director of the LA/LB Seaport and current Port Director in Laredo.

Held at the Fort MacArthur Air Force Base (AFB) Community Center in San Pedro, the ceremony steeped in CBP tradition, features the transferal of the CBP guidon from the Acting Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner to the Port Director to symbolize the conveyance and assumption of command.

“My vision is to promote an inclusive culture, where the unique experiences, skillsets and voices throughout the organization are welcomed and valued.  At my table, there’s a seat for everyone.  As the frontline operators and leaders, your perspective matters, and I intend to promote a culture that supports this, said Africa R. Bell, Port Director of the LA/LB Seaport.

“As your leader, I can’t guarantee you that I’ll get it right all the time, but what I can guarantee you is that at the heart of everything I do will be my best effort, my best intentions, and the best interests of the workforce, the mission, and the American people we serve.”

In her new capacity, Port Director Bell oversees LA/LB international cargo and cruise ship operations and agricultural compliance. She is responsible for managing all operational and administrative aspects of port security and trade facilitation.

Prior to her Port Director appointment, Ms. Bell served as Director, Base Metals Center of Excellence and Expertise in Chicago, Illinois.  In this role, she oversaw the administration and enforcement of trade laws and regulations governing imports of base metal commodities valued at over $148 billion.

In 2022, Ms. Bell served as an Acting Deputy Federal Security Director at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), where she led 1,700 employees in the execution of all TSA security activities at Hartsfield Atlanta International and eight smaller airports throughout the state of Georgia.

In 2020, while serving as Acting Port Director for the Area Port of Chicago, at CBP, she was responsible for leading passenger processing and cargo clearance operations at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports.  In 2019, Ms. Bell was designated as Acting Director for the Enforcement Operations Division, Trade Remedies Law Enforcement Directorate, in CBP’s Office of Trade, where she oversaw the agency’s e-Allegation and Enforce and Protect Act initiatives.

Ms. Bell began her career with the U.S. Customs Service in Long Beach, California, as a Student-Aide and Inspector under the former Cooperative Education Program.  She is a recent graduate of the Department of Homeland Security’s SES Candidate Development Program and a former Presidential Management Intern.  A native of Southern California, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University at Long Beach.

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
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Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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