U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released a summary of its activities in Fiscal Year 2012, which the agency says was marked by “historic levels of personnel, technology and resources” dedicated to the Southwest border, coupled with efforts to facilitate legitimate trade and travel.

“In 2012, the men and the women of CBP played a leading role in making America more secure and more prosperous,” CBP Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar said. “These numbers illustrate the investments made by CBP to improve border security, increase efficiencies, and facilitate the flow of legal trade through our nation’s borders.”

According to the CBP report, over the last four years, the agency has made it a focus to find ways to reduce barriers to travel to and from the U.S. This year, CBP also processed more than $2.3 trillion in trade, 5 percent more than it did in the previous year. Nearly 25 million cargo containers traveled though the nation’s ports, up by 4 percent from 2011. In addition, the agency reported that it conducted nearly 23,000 seizures of goods that violated intellectual property rights, valued at $1.2 billion.

Not only did it process more trade than it did the previous year, CBP also opened four new Centers for Excellence during Fiscal Year 2012 – in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Houston. The centers are industry specific – Electronics; Pharmaceutical; Automotive and Aerospace; and Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Minerals. They are designed to be single points of processing for participating importers, to facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues and to increase uniformity among ports.