Delaying Customs notice

Delaying Customs notice

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Air cargo shippers got a break from the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, which delayed implementation of advance notification rules for transmitting manifest information.

The requirements for carriers in all modes to submit information electronically in advance of shipments arriving in the United States were supposed to take effect March 5. But CBP printed a notice in the March 4 Federal Register that it was delaying implementation until the agency could make the system more efficient. Customs officials said the technology to be used to transmit manifest data, the Air Automated Manifest System, is not ready to handle the new requirements.

"The new schedule will allow CBP to modify certain critical aspects of Air AMS, train all CBP officers that process imported air cargo on those changes, and certify the software of new participants," CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner said.

Air cargo shippers and carriers fear the rules would burden them with substantial extra costs and delays. Customs announced the details of the rules for all modes on Nov. 20 and made them official in the Federal Register in early December, two months after the agency had intended to do so.

Now they have more time to get ready and to calculate impact, which Customs hopes to ease by waiting to implement the air cargo portion of the rules. Air carriers now have three deadlines depending on the airport at which cargo will arrive.

Carriers flying to the eastern part of the United States and Puerto Rico must comply by Aug. 13. The deadline for imports into the Midwest is Oct. 13. The final deadline of Dec. 13 applies to airports across the West, including Alaska and Hawaii.