Data Sharing

CBP data to aid maritime regulations

cargo ship

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will share its extensive commercial shipping data gleaned from its newly automated international cargo tracking system with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to help regulate ocean-going cargo shippers.

The memorandum of understanding signed by the agencies will allow data from CBP's Automated Commercial Environment-International Trade Data System (ACE-ITDS) and other systems to be transferred directly to the FMC for use in fulfilling that agency's regulatory responsibilities, according to CBP. The direct data transfer, it said, will conserve resources at both agencies and assist in compliance with the SAFE Port Act.

The FMC regulates international shipping for U.S. interests, a task that includes keeping an eye on rates and identifying as well as investigating mislabeled shipments.

CBP said the ACE system allows its personnel to manage and oversee import and export data, as well as its enforcement systems, giving it end-to-end visibility of the entire trade cycle. ACE, it said, also improves efficiencies by moving away from a transaction-based environment and transitioning to an account-based business model, relieving CBP personnel and other government agencies from a host of administrative tasks. A CBP spokesman said the system allows enhanced targeting of high-risk shipments that could pose a threat.

FMC is an independent federal agency responsible for regulating the international ocean transportation system for U.S. exporters, importers and consumers.

The agreement, signed during a ceremony at the FMC on July 19, specifies the specific data elements to be shared, the legal authority of FMC to receive the data and the conditions under which FMC may use, store or share the information.

ACE-ITDS trade data is protected by the Trade Secrets Act and both agencies are obligated under the agreement to properly safeguard the data.

"This is a significant step forward toward ensuring greater security, compliance and facilitation of cargo in the maritime environment," said acting CBP Commissioner Thomas Winkowski. "CBP has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the FMC over the years."

 

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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