Effective June 12, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is implementing a mandatory Air Cargo Advance Screening program after running ACAS as a pilot since December 2010. Commissioner Kevin McAleenan has said this program positions CBP to better address e-commerce, which requires the agency to screen an increasing number of smaller cargo shipments and thus presents challenges associated with assessing risk, targeting, and facilitating the movement of goods.

For inbound aircraft required to make entry under 19 CFR 122.41 that have commercial cargo aboard, ACAS will continue to require the carrier or other eligible party to electronically transmit the following data elements (a subset of the data currently collected under 19 CFR 122.48a) to CBP as early as practicable but no later than prior to loading the cargo onto the aircraft: 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.

CBP is also (a) requiring a new data element, the master air waybill number, in three specific situations and encouraging it in other situations, (b) allowing filers to designate a second notify party, and (c) adding the flight departure message to the current 19 CFR 122.48a data elements.

CBP will issue ACAS referrals when clarifying information and/or enhanced screening of high-risk cargo is needed to mitigate any risk. In addition, CBP will issue “do not load” instructions when a combination of ACAS data and intelligence points to a threat or terrorist plot in progress.

Violations of ACAS requirements may be met with liquidated damages of $5,000 per violation up to a maximum of $100,000 per conveyance arrival. CBP may also assess penalties where appropriate.

However, CBP states that it will show restraint in enforcing the data submission requirements of this rule through June 12, 2019, as long as filers are making significant progress toward compliance and a good faith effort to comply to the extent of their current ability. Willful and egregious violators will be subject to enforcement actions at all times.

CBP also notes that inbound air carriers will be required to comply with their respective TSA-approved or accepted security program, including the changes being implemented for purposes of ACAS.

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