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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



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)

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.

JOC: Most shippers to divert cargo away from US West Coast ports

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
 © 2015 Journal of Commerce

© 2015 Journal of Commerce



This week, the Journal of Commerce surveyed about 140 shippers to gauge sentiments on the recent West Coast port congestion debacle.  Despite tentative settlement of the labor dispute that resulted in the massive cargo backups at these ports, nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated their intention to redirect shipments away from the West Coast, primarily to the US East and Gulf Coasts, as well as the Port of Vancouver in Canada.

While the majority of shippers specified that they would divert 10 to 30% of their cargo, nearly an equal number signaled that they plan to reroute 31% or more.

Meanwhile, JOC also reports that retailers, a key driver of imports of US  West Coast ports, expect shipping delays, product shortages and increased trucking rates caused by the port slowdown to adversely affect business for weeks.  Perhaps this development has had some effect on the survey results.  (JOC site registration required).

See West Coast port congestion from the sky

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
© 2015 Michael Kelley

© 2015 Michael Kelley

Check out the bird’s eye view of the congestion at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, captured by aerial photographer, Michael Kelley.  Kelley noted that he saw “30 to 40 ships” waiting to discharge their cargo, the result of the ongoing US West Coast port labor dispute.

Just over two weeks ago, it appeared that the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union had reached agreement on a major issue — management of truck chassis —  a key point of contention in the dispute.

That consensus, however, seems to have evaporated as shipping lines have announced that they will suspend the loading and unloading of cargo ships over the next four days.  The move is an attempt to avoid paying holiday/weekend overtime wages, a response to a perceived “chronic” work slowdown by dockworkers, which their union disputes.


Progress on chassis in West Coast labor dispute

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

chassisAfter months of wrangling by longshoremen and their employers in a complicated labor dispute at West Coast ports, representative from both sides indicated that a tentative agreement has been reached on the key issue of chassis.

These trailers, which move cargo containers to and from ships at ports, have been in short supply, primarily due to ocean carriers divesting interest in the chassis and a lack of a cohesive backup plan for their management and maintenance.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, both sides – the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, with 20,000 dockworkers, and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents employers at 29 ports – have offered little detail on the chassis accord, but are hopeful it can pave the way for a final agreement, and eliminate the port congestion caused by the dispute.



Attend “State of the Port” for Long Beach on Jan 29

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy

Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy


On January 29, 2015, from 8 – 10 AM, the public is invited to a free event at the Long Beach Convention Center, “The State of the Port 2015,” delivered by Jon Slangerup, the new Chief Executive of the Port of Long Beach.

Slangerup will provide “updates on major infrastructure projects, cargo trends, jobs, security and other key Harbor Department initiatives.”

Register here.