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CBP to host fines, penalties and forfeiture trade forum for importers at LA/LB port

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

US Customs and Border Protection logo


On September 16, 2015, US Customs’ Los Angeles Field Operations Unit will host a trade forum for the importing community on fines, penalties and forfeitures processes and procedures at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex.  Reservations are first come, first served.  Details are here:  CBP LA Trade Forum on Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures (FP&F) Processes and Procedures.


ACE: Successful PGA Pilot for entries involving FDA and NHTSA

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

seal_acePer US Customs’ CSMS #15-000623:

Last week, [CBP] initiated the first Phase (I) of the PGA Pilots.  [FDA] and [NHTSA] entry data transactions were successfully transmitted, accepted and processed in [ACE].  The second Phase (II) of the PGA Pilots is scheduled to begin on September 2, 2015, with an expansion to additional ports.

In advance of the November 1, 2015 ACE mandatory filing date, CBP has also published a comprehensive overview of the schedule of PGAs and ports participating in the PGA Pilot.

Importers seem to like CEE program

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

cee mapIn our experience, CustomsNow™  has seen importers who are participating in CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) program have quite a positive experience. Primarily, the program provides these importers with the opportunity to educate the CEE staff regarding their businesses, reducing the need for separate and often duplicate port requests, slowing cargo.  Moreover, the CEE staff has been doing a remarkable job advocating on the importers’ behalf in certain situations.  For example, the issuance of CF28s are no longer duplicated at the port level.  In addition, the CEEs can assist with the reduction of redundant cargo exams at the port of entry.

The CEEs seem to be living up to their goal that “[t]he Centers were established to increase uniformity of practices across ports of entry, facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide, and further strengthen critical agency knowledge on key industry practices.”

The only slight downside, according to some importers, is that the volume of requests for electronic invoices (AIIs) at the entry summary level tends to increase, at least initially.  It appears that the Centers works hard to learn the nuances of the importers business transactions, then, over time the AII requests lessen, leaving the CEE in a good position to provide that tailored support.  So a little extra time invested by the importer up front can significantly payoff down the road.

Update on Port of LA’s paper workaround for paperless ACE air manifest cargo releases

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

seal_aceRecently, we discussed glitches in ACE that prevented carriers from seeing release messages for air cargo, even though the filers receive paperless releases in ACE.  To address the issue, the Port of Los Angeles announced a paper-based workaround, which was extended through July 31, 2015.

While the overall air manifest environment is improving in performance, technical issues remain.  Therefore, the Port of LA has extended the paper workaround until further notice, and has provided additional guidance for the trade.

For details, see Acting LAX Port Director Donald R. Kusser’s memo:   Notice to the Trade – July 29, 2015 Update


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)

CBP to test tweaks of Remote Location Filing (RLF) program

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

In yesterday’s Federal Register, US Customs announced an upcoming National Customs Automation Program (NCAP) test of the Remote Location Filing (RLF) program.  Under the RLF program, self-filing importers, and customs brokers with a national permit and RLF approval, may file entries electronically from a remote location other than the port where the cargo is being entered.

The NCAP test, which is in furtherance of CBP’s Trade Transformation modernization initiatives, especially ACE, is slated to go live on August 12, 2015 through an unspecified end date.  Key highlights of the test are:

It is important to note that only ACE entries that are certified for ACE cargo release from summary may be submitted under the test.

US Customs invites the public to submit comments on any aspect of the test through the duration of the test.

© Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

© Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson



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)

CEE Directors granted authority for entry summary at ports

Friday, June 26th, 2015

cee map


As announced in CSMS #15-000390, US Customs will vest authority for post-release trade processes in the Center Directors for two of the nation’s 10 Centers of Excellence & Expertise (CEEs), effective Monday, June 29.

This grant of power, pursuant to a 2014 CBP Delegation Order, will provide both the directors of the Petroleum, Natural Gas & Minerals CEE and the Pharmaceuticals, Health & Chemicals CEE with responsibility for the entry summary piece of cargo clearance in certain ports of entry, while Port Directors “retain singular authority over those matters pertaining to the control, movement, examination, and release of cargo,” as well as issues related to drawback and fines, penalties and forfeitures.


CEEs Phase III Operational Expansion doc

List of Affected Ports & Field Offices

Update on Port of LA’s paper workaround for paperless ACE air manifest cargo releases

Friday, June 19th, 2015

seal_aceIn our recent blog post, we discussed glitches in ACE that prevented carriers from seeing release messages for air cargo, even though the filers receive paperless releases in ACE.  To address the issue, the Port of Los Angeles announced a paper-based workaround.

Today, the Port of LA has updated its guidance by extending the paper workaround until June 24, 2015 and providing a paper Permit to Transfer form for carriers and filers to obtain manual signatures for in-bond cargo movements.

LAX Port Director Todd Hoffman’s revised memo:  ACE air manifest releases update.

**** UPDATE:  On June 24, LAX further extended the interim processing procedures until July 31, 2015.  June 24 Notice to Trade



Port of LA: Paper workaround for paperless ACE air manifest cargo releases

Monday, June 15th, 2015

seal_aceOn June 7th, US Customs began processing air manifest transaction in ACE in real time.  With a technical rollout of this magnitude, there are bound to be glitches.  In this case, the sending of ’1C’ messages is compromised — while filers of cargo releases receive paperless releases in ACE, carriers are not able to see the release messages.

While CBP is resolving the issue, Todd Hoffman, Port Director of Los Angeles International Airport, has announced a workaround for that port:

From now until June 19, 2015, CBP will allow carriers/CFS operators to accept a signed CF 3461 (DAD) by the broker without fear of penalty for entries that have generated a paperless release when transmitted thru ABI.  In addition, carriers/CFS operators are allowed to accept screen printouts of electronic ACE cargo entry (Simplified) releases submitted by the broker for the release of cargo.  The printout should have at a minimum the shipment ID and quantity being released as well as clear identification of who presented the release information.

For In-bond movements, carriers/CFS operators are allowed to accept the perforated/signed CF 7512 even if the ’1C’ or ’1D’ are not posted.

Mr. Hoffman’s memorandum of June 12, 2015:  ACE Air Manifest Releases