Customs and Border Protection is looking at alternative ways of calculating the timeliness of security information that importers are obligated to file before their cargo is loaded aboard ship.
Richard DiNucci, director of the Secure Freight Initiative, said Thursday that Customs is finding ways to credit importers who have made a good-faith effort to submit their importer security filing (10+2) data 24 hours before their container is loaded, even if the data Customs receives from the carrier indicates the filing was late.
Under the 10+2 rule, importers will be penalized for late filing after Jan. 1, 2010. DiNucci said that shippers have raised the issue at recent conferences.
DiNucci explained that the shipper’s timeliness may come into question because the ISF data is based on a loading time the carrier gives. The carrier, on the other hand, may file its manifest early.
For example, a carrier may tell the shipper that a container will be loaded at noon on Thursday, but may file its manifest at noon on Tuesday, when it knows what cargo is at the pier ready for loading. If the shipper files its ISF data at noon on Wednesday, it is in compliance with the 10+2 rule, but it appears to be late, based on the time the carrier manifest was filed.
“We want to make sure we’re equitably measuring that so we aren’t penalizing folks when they were timely based on the information they had,” DiNucci said. Based on new analysis of vessel loading times, the compliance rate for timeliness had gone up to 45 percent from 20 percent.
DiNucci said that Customs is considering gauging the vessel’s departure time as a cross-check against the ISF filing time. He said other information could be gleaned from the manifest filing, or the vessel stow plan, one of the elements the carrier has to file under the ISF rule.
However, DiNucci warned that shippers should not misinterpret what Customs is doing. The 10+2 rule is not being changed, and importers are still required to file their security data 24 hours in advance of loading.
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