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ACE: TSN seeks members for working group on CPSC cargo release pilot

Monday, August 31st, 2015


The International Trade Data System (ITDS)  Committee of the Trade Support Network (TSN), an advisory board of trade representatives that provides guidance to US Customs on ACE issues, is seeking members of the trade to form a working group to discuss a technical solution to be used by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in the pilot to test the new cargo release and control functionality of ACE/ITDS.

You must apply by this Friday, September 4.  See CSMS #15-000642 for details.

ACE: TSN seeks committee members to address upcoming post-release functionality

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

seal_aceThe Entry Committee of the Trade Support Network (TSN), an advisory board of trade representatives that provides guidance to US Customs on ACE issues, is seeking members of the trade for help in working through matters on forthcoming ACE functionality.  Specifically, the organization:

“…would like to establish Trade Working Groups to discuss upcoming requirements and capabilities for Post Release functionality development that began in Increment 10 and will extend to future Increments.  Specifically, we are looking for trade volunteers to participate in the following three working groups:

    • Drawback
    • Reconciliation
    • Liquidation/Protest

In order to make these discussions manageable and productive, we would like no more than 10 trade members per working group (members can sign up for multiple working groups).

Once the working group members have been identified, we are targeting scheduling several on site sessions [in Washington, DC], beginning the week of August 17th or August 24th.  Your input on which week is preferable would be appreciated. Each group will have one full day to meet with the ESAR Team (either Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday).  Once we hold our first meeting, we will determine whether additional on-site meetings or teleconferences will be required.”

If you’re qualified and interested, please contact Amy Magnus [] and Lee Sandler [] with Working Group preference and availability for meetings week/day of August 17th and week/day of August 24th.

The TSN provides a forum for the discussion of significant modernization and automation efforts with the trade community. There are approximately 300 members of the TSN that represent the entire breadth of the trade community, including trade associations, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, sureties and others.


How to obtain a GSP refund

Monday, July 27th, 2015



In follow-up to the passage of the Trade Preferences and Extension Act of 2015, which reauthorized the Generalized System of Preference (GSP), importers are entitled to seek refunds for duties paid for eligible goods retroactive to July 31, 2013.

CBP recently posted its GSP Refund Process for eligible filers, which is available here.  In addition, the Tuttle Law Office provides guidance for refund seekers, available here.






Truck turn time, rates soar at LA/LB

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Traffic jam


Shippers using the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex have been hit with increased delays in truck turn times, and ironically are paying more for diminished service levels.

According to the Journal of Commerce, the average turn times at the port complex’s 13 container terminals have increased by 50% in the last year — from about an hour to 90 minutes — which is attributed to the past year’s chassis shortages, intermodal rail service problems, increase in drayage rates and ILWU’s past job actions which were part of the now-settled West Coast port labor slowdown.

The twin ports have formed stakeholder groups to address the issues that are causing increased turn times.  However, as vessels calling in the ports get larger, the congestion persists.   And now the trucking industry is able charge shippers for excess truck waiting times — the “new normal.”   (*JOC site registration required)

West Coast ports container volume sags despite settlement of labor dispute

Monday, July 6th, 2015
Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy

Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy



In the lingering aftermath of the West Coast ports labor dispute, importers and exporters continue to divert cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, driving down container volume in the west by 2% year-over-year.  Although West Coast port congestion has dissipated, the East and Gulf ports continue to grow in container volume, in double or high single digits.  See full post in the Journal of Commerce. (*JOC site registration required)

GSP extended through 2017

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

foodprocessingYesterday, President Obama signed into law the Trade Preferences and Extension Act, which, among other things, reauthorizes the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) until December 31, 2017, with retroactive treatment for eligible goods that were imported after the program lapsed on July 31, 2013.

According to the White House,

Since authorization of the GSP program lapsed in mid-2013, U.S. businesses that utilize GSP have paid over $1 billion dollars in tariffs on GSP products that previously entered the United States duty-free. This has been an especially heavy burden for the many thousands of small businesses that count on GSP to keep their costs down. Renewal of the program will eliminate these duty costs on GSP goods, ease the flow of trade from many developing countries, including some of the poorest countries in the world, and benefit U.S. businesses and consumers alike.

Products that are eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP include: most manufactured items; many types of chemicals, minerals and building stone; jewelry; many types of carpets; and certain agricultural and fishery products.



West Coast ports: Who pays for chassis storage? Importers?

Monday, June 8th, 2015

chassisA chassis shortage was a key issue in the recently settled labor dispute that crippled US West Coast ports, and in response, chassis operators at the gigantic Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex in March created a chassis pool to address inefficient chassis use at the ports.

Flash forward three months, and chassis continue to be a thorny problem at West Coast ports.

According to the Journal of Commerce:*

“Until last year, shipping lines owned most of the chassis that were used in harbor haulage. They stored their chassis at the terminals so there would always be equipment available for containers when they were discharged from the vessels. A typical terminal would devote eight to 10 acres to container storage.

However, over the past year, the shipping lines sold most of their chassis to chassis-leasing companies, and marine terminals are developing a business model for chassis storage that appears to be headed in one of two directions. If they have the space, they will allow storage, but will charge for it, or they will ban chassis storage altogether.”

It is expected that the new chassis owners will have to pay for storage through a gate fee which will ultimately be passed on to shippers, something now happening at the Port of Oakland.   The organization of marine terminal operators, which is currently evaluating chassis operations at a big picture level, claims that this may not be the case for other West Coast ports.   However, chassis pool operators remain concerned that an Oakland-type scenario will negatively impact the ports’ competitiveness.

(*JOC site registration required)

CBP launches Broker-Known Importer Program (BKIP)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

US Customs and Border Protection logoUS Customs recently announced, in CSMS #15-000275, the implementation of the Broker-Known Importer Program (BKIP), an initiative proposed by the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFFA).

The program allows a licensed customs broker to inform CBP, via the filing of an electronic entry,  that the importer listed on the entry is known to the broker, and that the broker has advised the importer of their compliance responsibilities under Customs regulations.  In addition, the broker will have verified the importer’s grasp of its obligations in areas such as entry declarations, ADD/CVD, IPR, valuation and preference programs, through a questionnaire.

CBP will use this information for purposes of cargo risk segmentation.  When a broker identifies an importer who is exercising reasonable care in connection with their imports by checking the BKIP indicator flag on an entry, Customs may adjust that importer’s risk profile in CBP’s targeting system accordingly, even if the importer is not part of the Trusted Trader programs — C-TPAT or ISA. (The BKIP indicator flag for entries has already been deployed as part of ACE.)

BKIP is a voluntary program for both brokers and importers.

BKIP Benefits:

  • New platform for brokers and importers to discuss compliance obligations
  • Potential to increase broker entry accuracy
  • Increased compliance knowledge for importer staff
  • Improved cargo targeting by CBP at time of cargo arrival
  • More information to CBP about importer from a trusted source

Helpful Links




US West Coast ports: Imports rise as cargo pileups shrink

Monday, May 11th, 2015
"Docker throwing a twistlock on a container" by Danny Cornelissen - Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons

“Docker throwing a twistlock on a container” by Danny Cornelissen – Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons


It’s been almost three months since the labor dispute that crippled US West Coast ports was tentatively settled, and since then, containerized imports are on the upswing.

According to the Journal of Commerce*, the National Retail Federation in its publication, Port Tracker, reported that March import traffic jumped 45% from February, when the discord between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association severely hampered port operations for several months.

Dockworkers and management have made a concerted effort clear the massive container backlog resulting from the port slowdowns (presumably, in part, due to the implementation of chassis pools), although the ILWU has yet to ratify February’s agreement on the dockworkers’ labor contract (vote due on May 22).

See also our previous blog post:  Most shippers to divert cargo away from US West Coast ports.

(*JOC site registration required)


LA/LB Ports: New chassis pool to help clear cargo backlog

Monday, March 2nd, 2015
March 1, 2015.  A significant backlog of container ships awaits unlading at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, visible from over 50 miles away in southern Orange County, CA.  ® 2015 Customs Now, Inc.

March 1, 2015. A significant backlog of container ships awaits unlading at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, visible from over 50 miles away in southern Orange County, CA. ® 2015 Customs Now, Inc.

While extraordinary congestion from the West Coast port labor dispute remains at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, key stakeholders have taken a major step forward to address the backlog.

As reported today in Transport Topics, three of the ports’ largest intermodal chassis operators have created a chassis pool that “allows truckers to use equipment from any of the pools, instead of having to find, or wait for, a chassis from one of the individual pool operators.”

A chassis shortage was a weighty area of contention in the labor dispute, and the establishment of the pool is critical to address the estimated half million containers that continue to clog the port complex.