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CBP Guidance on Cargo Processing for Ports Affected by Gulf Coast Hurricane

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has provided the following guidance on entry and entry summary filing for cargo aboard ships that have been forced to divert from their intended ports of unlading due to Hurricane Harvey. Affected ports include Port Arthur (2101), Houston (5301), Galveston (5310), Freeport (5311), and Corpus Christi (5312), where commercial trade operations have been suspended through at least Sept. 1. CBP states that it intends to work with the impacted trade community during this time to mediate or resolve entry summary processing issues.

Vessels. To ensure smooth processing of bills of lading and associated status notifications in the new port of unlading, carriers should amend the manifest to reflect the new port of unlading.

All ships that divert from impacted ports, and those that have already diverted, should advise CBP of the diversion port via OFO-MANIFESTBRANCH@CBP.DHS.GOV.

In a related phone call, CBP said the Food and Drug Administration is not requiring any changes to prior notifications for diverted goods. However, CBP is still waiting for guidance from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies.

CBP also said that for cargo diverted from Houston to Mexico and then trucked into the U.S. the entry will need to be canceled and a new entry filed using the truck manifest.

Entry/Entry Summary Filing. If both the entry and entry summary, or a certified summary, had already been filed at the original port (e.g., Houston) at the time of the diversion, nothing needs to be done. If the entry had already been filed at the original port but the summary had not, the summary should be filed at the original port. If neither the entry nor entry summary had been filed at the original port, both will be filed at the new (diverted) port.


Entry type 09 (reconciliation) entries for the port of Houston should be held by the trade community until that port reopens.

For Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, CBP is granting a local closure day to all who file entries at the above ports as well as the Houston airport (5309).

Entry/Entry Summary Cancellation or Deletion. If cancellation or deletion of an entry or entry summary is needed, the entry deletion and cancellation policy and ACE entry summary business processing document should be followed. However, CBP will not allow filers to delete entry data once cargo release processing occurs and a provisional release notification is generated. In addition, deletion may only be performed on an entry; an entry summary may not be deleted.

All subsequent changes by the trade must be processed via the cancellation process. CBP notes that there are many situations in which entry or entry summary cancellation is legitimate and acceptable, as long as the filer provides documentation to substantiate the request. CBP states that the cancellation process enables it to account for 21st century logistics and just-in-time inventory as well as other government agency entry refusals.

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