ISFs – CBP plans maintenance to system this weekend

On January 29 and 30, for approximately 9 hours, US Customs will be undertaking maintenance — installing new hardware — on the Importer Security Filing (ISF) system.  During this window, all ISF, Stow Plan, and Container Status messages submitted by the trade will be queued up and processed after the system is backed up.

The official notice is here.

CBP offers free supply chain security seminar in El Paso

This Thursday, January 27, the El Paso, TX Field Office of US Customs will hold a free seminar on supply chain security for the local import/export/trade community.

Discussion topic include:

  • Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) programs — enrollment, participation and program enhancements
  • Supply chain security/seal inspections
  • Current trade issues

There will also be time open discussion between Customs officials and the trade.

Advance registration is encouraged and interested parties should contact CBP via email at and include their company name, type of business, CTPAT account number (if applicable) and names of attendees. Additional information is available by calling (915) 633-7300 ext 104 or ext 106.

More details are available here.

Thinking about C-TPAT? See video from a long-term participant

Is your company contemplating participation in CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program?   Then check out a video interview with Kurt Gulder, distribution manager of Sport Obermeyer, Ltd., whose company has been C-TPAT certified since 2003. 

In an conversation with SupplyChainBrain’s managing editor, Robert Bowman, Mr. Gulder discusses the benefits and obligations of C-TPAT, the interaction with US Customs, and specifically how the program requirements have gotten more stringent over the last 8 years.  In sum,  Mr. Gulder states that the program is quite beneficial for his company and that Sport Obermeyer will continue to be certified.

The video is available here (site registration required).

Importers: how to get more out of ACE reporting

If you have access to US Customs’ Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), it’s possible that you may not be fully utilizing ACE’s robust reporting functionality.  But thanks to CBP’s newly issued Overview of Reports, learning how to maximize ACE reporting becomes clearer.

 For importers in particular, Customs emphasises that the ACE reports allow you to regularly monitor:

  • Your regulatory compliance
  • Your broker’s regulatory compliance
  • Your bond sufficiency
  • Your HTS numbers and trade preference programs
  • Your Periodic Monthly Statement Activity (e.g., end of month accruals for unpaid duty, cash flow projections)
  • Any unauthorized filers of entries on your behalf

The Overview of Reports reminds users that there are over 100 downloadable and customizable reports available in ACE.   Some of the new trade reports available include:

  • Trade Declarations Report
  • Entry Summary Census Warning and Override Report
  • ACE Reject Report

Additionally, the Entry Summary Universe has been redesigned to make it easier for users to create and modify ACE Entry Summary reports.  (Future enhancements will improve e-Manifest reporting as well as Shared Reporting among users of the same ACE account.)

The Overview is illustrated with numerous ACE screen shots to assist users in searching for, selecting, editing and customizing reports.  In addition, it provides a listing of additional resources for users, including a link to web-based report training.

The Overview of Reports is available here.

Paperless bond process kicks off

As part of it ongoing modernization efforts, the Revenue Division of US Customs is now processing and storing bond documents electronically.  Accordingly, the Revenue Division Bond Team recommends that filers submit bond applications via email and consolidate all documents in a single attachment.

Moreover, the Revenue Division requires that all attachments submitted for a new continuous bond, termination request, bond rider, and rejection must be converted into a TIF format (with a dpi (dots per inch) no greater than 300.

With respect to continuous bond submissions, these must be scanned and submitted in the following order:

  • CBP Form 301 (1st page) (one copy only; multiple copies not required)
  • CBP Form 301 (2nd page)
  • Bond Application
  • CBP Form 5106 (if applicable)
  • any other documents, i.e. power of attorney, partnership papers, etc.

Questions about the paperless bond process can be directed to directed to (317) 614-4880, or via email to

For more information, check out the Revenue Division’s full notice.

CBP 2011 Trade Symposium update

As mentioned in our January 3 post, US Customs has scheduled its 2011 Trade Symposium, “Working Together to Strengthen Economic Competitiveness,”  for April 13-14 in Washington, DC.  The agency has recently provided updated information on its Trade Outreach website.

General Sessions include:

  • U.S. Trade a Top Priority
  • Interagency Cooperation: One Government Approach to the Border
  • CBP’s New Ways to Manage by Accounts: Pilots and Initiatives
  • Enhancing Air Cargo Security after Yemen: A case study in collaborative Supply Chain Security
  • A Smarter & Safer Border: Town Hall Meeting

Breakout sessions include:

  • Agriculture Mission
  • Border Issues/Initiatives
  • CBP Trade Strategy
  • In-bond
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Partnership Programs
  • Role of the Customs Broker
  • The National Export Initiative and FTZs
  • Using Today’s ACE Capabilities to the Full Potential
  • What’s Ahead for ACE (Cargo Release, ITDS, PSC and More)

To register for on-site attendance, click here.  To instead participate in the live webcast (including 30-day on-demand access, click here.

Complete details, including lodging options, are available here.

US importers – plan now for peak season space

The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), which represents 15 of the largest carriers in trade from Asia to the US, is optimistic about meeting the trade’s demand for space in eastbound Asia vessels during 2011’s peak third quarter shipping season.  Nevertheless, the organization cautions about tight capacity and possible container shortages.

As the US and global economic situation improved in 2010, eastbound container volume jumped 15% over 2009.  In addition, vessel capacity  for West Coast ports reached a high in October of 96% while vessels bound for the East Coast showed a 94% utilization rate.

In 2011, the TSA is predicting eastbound trade to increase by up to 8% over 2010.  Although this demand for cargo space should be met by new vessels entering the Asia-US trade lane,TSA suggested “…that delays on new vessel deliveries, heavy demand for ships on Intra-Asia routes and other factors…” could impact the carriers’ ability to meet that demand.  If  that is the case, there will be little room for last-minute planning, given last year’s peak season capacity rates hovering close to 100%.

Moreover, a continued shortage in containers (production down 50% from 2008 rates), may cause demand to again exceed supply, a problem that plagued some US importers during peak season last year.

Check out the TSA’s post, “Shipping Lines See Steady Transpacific Growth, Relative Supply/Demand Balance in 2011.”

AAEI Winter Seminar Jan 27th – register now!

It’s not too late to register for the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) Winter Seminar to be held on January 27th at the offices of Alston + Bird in Washington, DC.

Seminar topics include:

  • Organization of a compliance program – who and where?
  • Elements of a compliance program  — what should be included?
  • Systems to support compliance — Manual and automated
  • Maintenance of compliance programs — Role of internal auditors and outside auditors, record keeping, training, and growth (mergers and acquisitions)
  • Dealing with Compliance Headaches — valuation, assists, multiple country sourcing, etc.
  • Training on Incoterms 2010
  • For more details, visit AAEI’s website.  You can register here.

    Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) terminated… for now

    US Customs has announced that  the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) expired on December 31, 2010.  This long-running trade preference program has lapsed and been renewed in the past and there is an expectation that Congress will consider reauthorization of the program in early 2011, likely to be retroactive to January 1, 2011.

    Full notice here.