Customs delays air manifest requirement

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Thursday announced a five-month delay for requiring air cargo shippers to electronically send their cargo manifests to border officials before the imported goods arrive in the United States. This is one of several moves to tighten security and prevent terrorism from occurring on U.S. shores.

Although air shippers were supposed to begin complying with the new regulations on March 4, CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner said the delay was necessary to train officers to handle the data and certify the software being used by shippers.

The manifest rule is similar to one being implemented for container cargo shippers. Air shipping requirements also will be implemented beginning in August, first at East Coast facilities and on the West Coast by the end of 2004. Bonner said air shippers who are ready to proceed before the deadline would be allowed to phase in with their electronic manifest systems.

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