Most of U.S. customs staff to leave Dayton

DAYTON - The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency plans to relocate management and support staff from the customs office at Dayton International Airport to DHL's air cargo hub at Wilmington, because of heavier volume there of incoming cargo deliveries from foreign cities.

"We're not going to pull out of Dayton," said Brett Sturgeon, a spokesman for the customs agency. "We'll still have a presence at Dayton."

The timing of the shift is uncertain because there are details to be completed, Sturgeon said. It could be early next year before the relocation is done, he said.

The government has built a new office at 642 Davids Drive in Wilmington, across the street from the DHL airport property, he said. Customs managers and staff who handle paperwork for foreign cargo brought in by trade brokers are to occupy the Wilmington building.

Of the seven customs inspectors now based at the Dayton airport, six will be relocated to Wilmington, Sturgeon said. The lone customs officer in Dayton could be supplemented with colleagues temporarily whenever the incoming cargo volume requires it, he said.

The Dayton airport's administration has no objections to the relocation as long as the government maintains a customs inspection function there, airport spokesman Gene Conrad said.

The Dayton airport has no scheduled commercial airline flights arriving directly from foreign cities. Its arriving cargo shipments have sharply declined since United Parcel Service purchased the former Emery air cargo hub there and then closed it in 2006.