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Air Cargo Pilot Extended and Reopened to New Participants

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
By Shawn McCausland
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has extended for six months, through Oct. 26, the Air Cargo Advance Screening pilot program, which is used to target high-risk air cargo. CBP has also reopened through May 23 the deadline for applications from those wishing to participate in this program. CBP states that there has been a significant increase in the diversity and number of pilot participants, representing a strong sample size of the air cargo community, but that it continues to receive a number of requests to participate.

The ACAS pilot is a voluntary test in which participants submit a subset of the required advance air cargo data to CBP at the earliest point practicable prior to loading of the cargo onto the aircraft destined to or transiting through the United States. The data elements submitted as part of this pilot include air waybill number, total quantity based on the smallest external packing unit, total weight, cargo description, shipper name and address, and consignee name and address. Participants must also (1) mitigate, according to Transportation Security Administration screening protocols, any threat identified by the National Targeting Center; (2) respond promptly with complete and accurate information when contacted by the NTC with questions regarding the data submitted; (3) follow any Do Not Load instructions; and (4) partake in regular teleconferences or meetings established by CBP, when necessary, to ensure that any issues or challenges regarding the pilot are communicated and addressed.

When sufficient analysis and evaluation of the pilot have been conducted, CBP intends to begin the process of developing regulations that will make the advance submission of ACAS data mandatory. The results of the ACAS pilot will help determine the relevant data elements, the timeframe within which data should be submitted to permit CBP to effectively target, identify and mitigate any risk with the least impact practicable on trade operations, and any other related procedures and policies.

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