Electronic cargo tracking ready for early 2010

The CBP has published a list of vendors that can help

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is advising shippers on how to prepare for full enforcement of a new electronic cargo-tracking rule starting in January.

CBP is beginning full enforcement of the so-called “10 +2” Importer Security Filing rules for all air and ocean cargo shippers on Jan. 26, 2010. Under the rule, importers must electronically submit 10 data elements, and ocean carriers will have to submit two data elements, at least 24 hours before cargo is loaded for shipment to the United States.

The importers are responsible for submitting the data electronically through the CBP’s Automated Broker Interface or its Automated Manifest System.

To help shippers prepare, CBP in August published two lists of vendors that offered services to help air and sea shippers transition to the electronic security filing.

However, CBP also cautioned that it is not certifying the quality of the vendors on the list. “Inclusions on this list do not constitute any form of an endorsement by [CBP] as to the nature, extent or quality of the services, which may be provided,” the notice said.

The rule originated in the Safe Port Act of 2006. A final rule was published in November 2008 and became effective in January 2009. Full enforcement was postponed for a year. After enforcement begins, penalties of up to $5,000 can be imposed for each violation.

In recent months, CBP has been issuing progress reports to filers of the Importer Security Filing to inform them whether they are meeting the requirements. CBP recently reported an increase in the timeliness and accuracy of self-filings being submitted electronically under the ISF, according to TRG Direct, a vendor that assists self-filers.

TRG is encouraging shippers to begin filing the reports immediately to avoid penalties once full enforcement begins.

“Importers need to be filing,” TRG said Aug. 24 in an news release. “Although timeliness and accuracy play a role in the compliance of an importer security filing, the importer's progress with their importer security filing program prior to a violation will be a major mitigating factor come the penalty phase.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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