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CBP reminds the trade of “zero tolerance” for gateouts

Friday, May 6th, 2016



The US Customs Office of Field Operations for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport has issued the public bulletin to remind the trade that CBP “maintains a Zero Tolerance policy regarding gateout containers/cargo.”

The agency will assess civil monetary penalties against all culpable parties for each gateout incident, defined as “allowing a container/cargo that has been targeted by CBP for terrorism or enforcement inspection to be released without authorization from CBP.”

Details are available here:  CBP Policy Reminder

6 more CEE Directors granted authority for entry summary at ports

Friday, April 8th, 2016

As announced in CSMS #16-000227, US Customs will vest authority for post-release trade processes in the Center Directors for sixcee map more of the nation’s 10 Centers of Excellence & Expertise (CEEs), effective March 23, 2016.

This grant of power, pursuant to a 2014 CBP Delegation Order, will provide the directors of the following CEEs with trade authority for post-release trade processes of entry summaries, in certain ports of entry, for the respective industry tariff lines:

  • Agriculture & Prepared Products
  • Automotive & Aerospace
  • Base Metals
  • Consumer Products & Mass Merchandising
  • Industrial & Manufacturing Materials
  • Machinery

The Delegation Order does not remove any authority from the Port Directors but serves to share trade authority until full regulatory changes are completed.

CEE_Operational_Expansion 2016


Confusion over SOLAS VGM requirements pervades

Monday, April 4th, 2016



© Journal of Commerce

© Journal of Commerce

Uncertainty still prevails over the new verified gross mass (VGM) requirements enacted by the International Maritime Organization earlier this year, and may adversely affect shippers in less than three months.

According to the Journal of Commerce*:

  • Operators of all 13 terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are ill-equipped to weigh containers according to SOLAS guidelines before they are loaded onto ships.  Since the SOLAS requirements will be effective on July 1, the port complex advises that “shippers will have to make other arrangements for obtaining the required verified gross mass of the containers.”
  • China is the world’s leading generator of export containers, but has still not published SOLAS container weight guidance. Only 10 countries of the 162 signatories to the SOLAS treaty have had their guidelines and regulations published to the website of the World Shipping Council, a group that represents roughly 90 percent of global container capacity and was a major player in the creation of the new rule.
  • Non-compliance with the VGM requirements can have severe consequences:  OOCL, a major Hong-Kong based carrier said “the ‘no VGM, no loading’ principle would apply, and terminals observing the SOLAS Convention and/or local regulatory requirements would reject containers at the gate if no VGM was provided. In addition, the shipper would be responsible for the potential regulatory penalties and all costs associated to the exception handling of the containers without the VGM.”

(*JOC site registration may be required)

Expanded Panama Canal set to open June 26

Friday, March 25th, 2016
© 2015

© 2015

The expansion of the Panama Canal, a $5.3 billion project almost two years behind schedule and plagued by cost overruns and contractor disputes, will open on June 26, according to Canal Authority Administrator Jorge Quijano.

The expansion may shift international trade routes, allowing ships to reach Asia from the U.S. Gulf Coast more than two weeks faster than they would going east through the Suez Canal. It’ll make room for vessels with the capacity to carry 12,600 containers, almost three times what the existing locks permit, and will be able to handle tankers carrying liquefied natural gas.

The Canal project has been a major force in driving US port improvement projects to accommodate the larger ships.


ACE Cargo Release: Some original paperwork still required for now

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

paperstackACE is moving the trade to its long-stated goal of paperless processing.  To that end, filers must submit supporting documentation via ACE’s Document Image System (DIS).  However, some PGAs, for the time being, will require submission of original paper documents.

The Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport “is working to standardize the receiving and processing or physical paper documents for ACE Cargo Release Entries” via specifically labelled “ACE” drop-boxes at the ports.  In addition, there are specific requirements imposed for the cover sheets that accompany the physical papers.  Details are available here:  LA&LB Ports Interim Procedures Regarding Paper Documents for ACE Cargo Release Entries.

As a reminder, LA/LB has also established a process for submission of original paperwork for live entries.

ACE: Live entries not quite paperless in LA/LB

Thursday, February 25th, 2016



Filers submitting live entries through ACE Cargo Release at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex should know that it’s not entirely a paperless process yet.  In a February 23 public bulletin, the seaport notes that such live entries must be filed directly with the the Finance Team in Long Beach.

In a somewhat ironic message, the edict from the port complex reads in part:

Since ACE Cargo Release is considered a paperless program, brokers/filers will only be required to submit in a green folder CBP Form 7501 or 7501A with a check attached to the Financial Team.  The invoice, packing list, and remaining supporting documents shall be uploaded onto the Document Image System (DIS).  No check or cash collections of any type should be submitted to Selectivity, Entry or Import Specialist teams.

The complete Public Bulletin: LA16-003 Submission of Live Entries filed through ACE Cargo Release at the LALB Seaport

Port of LA/LB partners with truckers to reduce turn time

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Traffic jamTerminals at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex have learned a valuable lesson:  By working together with truckers and cargo interests, they can significantly reduce gate turn times.

As reported in the Journal of Commerce*, the ports’ terminals have implemented creative solutions such as dray-offs (draying imported containers to near-dock yards immediately upon removal from vessesls) and free flow or peel off (similar to dray-offs but cargo is segregated in a peel-off pile and instantly provided to truckers without regard to destination).

The results are impressive.  For example, the average turn time at the SSA terminal is 33 minutes, much less that the LA/LB average of 90 minutes.

(*JOC site registration may be required)


NY/NJ ports reopen after shutdowns; retailers still worried

Monday, February 1st, 2016


From Retail Dive:

Dive Brief:

  • Cargo was stranded for nine hours Friday as some 1,000 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association staged an unscheduled work stoppage.
  • The port workers are reportedly frustrated with some actions of the The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a New York/New Jersey agency established in 1953 to fight corruption and crime at the ports. The Waterfront Commission has been under fire for some time for what critics see as meddling in the shipping industry. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last year vetoed a bill to abolish the commission but admitted a need for reform. Efforts in that state to dissolve the commission and transfer operations to the state police are ongoing.
  • The Port of New York & New Jersey is the busiest port on the East Coast, with more than three million containers coming through annually and bringing in imports worth more than $200 billion. The stoppage last week was ultimately declared illegal by an arbitrator.

Dive Insight:

  • Friday’s port work stoppage came after a winter storm also shut down operations there for two days, and one retail group warned that such actions could be devastating for retailers, which are already battling inventory problems.
  • “This is déjà vu for retailers, and an unwelcome start to 2016. A shutdown on the East Coast of any meaningful duration will have dire consequences for those dependent on spring inventory deliveries,” Kelly Kolb, VP of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in an emailed statement to Retail Dive. ”A long-lasting strike would ultimately impact thousands of jobs along America’s supply chain.”

Cargo pre-inspection to expedite US, Mexico customs clearance

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

mexUSflagsAccording to the January 2016 edition of American Shipper*, the United States and Mexico have taken considerable steps towards an integrated border management system between the two countries that offers pre-inspection of cargo before it crosses the border.

  • Clearing cargo in advance relieves pressure on ports of entry that are often congested during peak traffic periods
  • Expediting the flow of cargo creates more efficiency for businesses  and provides incentives for them to increase their level of international trade
  • In October 2015, the US Department of Homeland Security and Mexican official signed a memorandum of understanding that allows customs officers from both countries “to work side-by-side for the first time enforcing their respective trade and security regulations on each other’s soil.”
  • Three pilot programs:
    1. Laredo, Texas airport — Mexican customs officers are physically located here and pre-screen air cargo shipments by looking at advance shipment information and the manifest.  Suspicious cargo can be pulled for inspection prior to loading.
    2. Otay Mesa crossing (San Diego and Tijuana) — Launching in early 2016, CBP officers and agricultural specialists will be stationed in the Mexican compound to inspect agricultural products moving on truck to the US.
    3. Santa Theresa, NM/Juarez checkpoint — Planning in place for joint inspections of shipments originating from, and arriving at, giant maquiladora assembly plant operated by Foxconn for Dell and other major electronics retailers.
(*Site registration required)


February 28: File in ACE or your cargo release will be delayed!

Monday, January 18th, 2016

As many in the trade are aware, as of February 28, 2016, US Customs’s legacy ACS system will no longer be available for filing of any electronic entries and associated summaries.  Filers may only file in ACE; those who are not prepared to file in ACE must file paper entries and entry summaries.

After February 28, the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex and outlying ports “will give priority to processing all electronic entries and entry summaries.  Filers who submit paper entries will face delays in cargo processing, impacting the release of their shipments.”  Details are here.  LA&LB Ports – Mandatory Use of ACE for ALL Electronic Entry and Entry Summary Filing

Other ports of entry will likely follow suit.  Make sure your (or your broker’s) ABI system is fully ACE-compliant!