Calling All Container Freight Station Operators: How Comfortable Are You with Automated Cargo-Release Processing?

In January, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a policy transition to an Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), or a paperless cargo-release processing system. The CBP is requiring all container facilities to have electronic entry filings by Feb. 28, 2016. (This was recently delayed from Nov. 1, 2015 to February due to concerns of industry readiness for the transition.)

This transition no longer requires a signed copy of the customs entry form 3461, only a screen shot from a brokers’ operating system. Also, minimum required information is the shipment identification, quantity of release, type of release, and identification of who presented release information.

According to the trade groups, the electronic system eradicates the standardized format and limits the amount of information required from the broker, most of all, leaves out the IT, Master, House and Subhouse bill of lading information.

Trade groups are coming together on Oct. 19 to discuss this new system and the possible complications and liabilities associated with this limited, electronic system. For those who are interested in attending the Customs Electronic Systems Action Committee meeting in Greenbelt, Md., contact Bernadette Stover.

According to the CBP, the current system reduces visibility, causes delays in cargo release, and adds costs: “It is no longer economically feasible to produce paper documents and transport them to physical location for re-entry into information systems when the data already exist in the CBP system.”

The CBP estimates this move will relieve the government and trade industry from $662 million in paper processing expenses associated with the current cargo release model.

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