Violating the Paper Reduction Act

"Oh, it's only a paper form."

(Nat "King" Cole)

Every few years, Customs deems it necessary to modernize. It usually does so by amending some of the forms necessary to enter imported merchandise. The latest effort is form 7501 - the primary document for Customs entry. A draft of this form has been sent out for scrutiny by those concerned.

It must be borne in mind that 100 percent of the information on the form has already been submitted to Customs electronically. Approximately 75 percent of the time, no entry documents are scrutinized by Customs because criteria for entry are reviewed electronically. Even if paper review is desired, the 7501 is not one of them. The form is retained by the importer and broker unless or until Customs demands to see it, usually as part of a post-entry review, audit or investigation. The newest draft looks just like its predecessors; the same information has been reformatted to allow for a larger font to accommodate the Americans With Disabilities Act. As a result, there is less space on the form for classification and value information and thus requires a second page for completion in the majority of cases.

This "Catch 22" puts Customs in violation of the Paper Reduction Act. No doubt the new Congress will take up this anomaly shortly after the new session.

M. Sigmund Shapiro

Chairman, Samuel Shapiro & Son

Baltimore, Md.


for smaller NVOs

As usual, a good editorial by Peter Tirschwell ("The snooze that greeted the news," Nov. 22), discussing the Federal Maritime Commission ruling on NVOCC contracting and the changing relationships of intermediaries and carriers. The subtleties are lost by many folks. That is, until they lose their business. In a world where all firms involved in any portion of the transportation chain are trying and vying to be each link, the big asset operators have awakened to the strength that they have so little used.

We are at the beginning of another cycle that will, unfortunately once again, squeeze the small to medium-sized non-asset-based companies and force to look for the niche that the mega-carriers cannot see from their high perches. Ingenuity and persistence, as used by David against Goliath, still could be the answer to fell some of the biggies. Or at least allow the intermediary business to continue and grow!

Howard Leff


7M Transport Inc.

Spring, Texas