U.S. Customs and Border Protection has extended for another year, through July 26, 2017, the Air Cargo Advance Screening pilot program, which is used to target high-risk air cargo. However, CBP states that the current pilot participants represent a strong sample size of the air cargo community and that new participants are no longer being accepted.
The ACAS pilot is a voluntary test in which participants (including express carriers, passenger carriers, heavy all-cargo carriers and freight forwarders) 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.
CBP states that it intends to issue a proposed rule to incorporate ACAS as an ongoing regulatory program, taking into account the results of the pilot, and has begun work on that process. CBP would like the pilot to continue during the rulemaking process to provide continuity in the flow of advance air cargo security information and serve as a stop-gap measure to address the vulnerability of the air cargo supply chain. CBP would also like to provide pilot participants with the additional opportunity to adjust and test business procedures and operations in preparation for the forthcoming rulemaking.