C-TPAT: AQUA Lane for expedited unlading opens at LA/LB seaport



US Customs’ Los Angeles Field Operations Unit has announced the opening of the Advanced Qualified Unlading Approval (AQUA) Lane program at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

AQUA Lane provides an expedited vessel clearance process to sea carriers actively participating in the C-TPAT program, who meet the requisite criteria, that enables them to immediately unload cargo upon arrival in the US — prior to CBP meeting the vessel.  It allows CBP to lessen congestion at seaports, redirecting Customs’ resources towards high risk threats and away from low risk carriers.

Complete information, including FAQs are found in the LA/LB seaport’s September 28, 2016, Public Bulletin.  LA:LB Implementation of AQUA Lane at the LALB Seaport


Breaking news! ACE Oct 29 deadline for post-release functions moved to January 2017

ace logo 2016As announced on today’s ACE Technical Call with the trade:

US Customs continues to assess stakeholder readiness for the mandatory transition of post-release capabilities in ACE.  In order to allow additional time for all stakeholders to prepare for this transition, and to provide the opportunity to solicit and receive public comment on the associated regulatory changes, CBP is rescheduling the October 29, 2016 transition.

This transition includes the mandatory use of ACE for liquidation, drawback, reconciliation, duty deferral, collections, statements, and the Automated Surety Interface. CBP is targeting January 2017 for the revised deployment and mandatory date and will provide additional clarification regarding the precise transition date in the coming weeks. 

CBP official notice here.

Continued fallout from the Hanjin bankruptcy



Update from the Journal of Commerce:*

  • A US federal maritime commissioner said that shipping alliances may have to prove that they have emergency procedures in case a member files for bankruptcy, as Hanjin Shipping has done, adversely affecting its own customers and those of its shipping partners in its CYKHE alliance.
  • Since the collapse of Hanjin, shippers, truckers, terminals, fuel providers and chassis companies have expressed concern about the impact on their business, and many have filed papers in hearing in the US Bankruptcy Court matter
  • Their concerns are, for example:
    • How to obtain containers locked in Hanjin ships
    • How to return Hanjin containers when terminals won’t accept them
    • How to deal with Hanjin containers and chassis stored in yards and warehouses across the US (causing fears of another chassis shortage)

*(site registration may be required)

LA/OC area trade professionals: Attend the CSCMP networking event!




Join CSCMP for an evening of networking in partnership with Irvine Chamber of Commerce Emerging Professionals at Il Fornaio Restaurant, one of Orange County’s premier dining establishments.  The event takes place on Tuesday, October 11 from 5:30PM-7:30PM.

This is a free* event for members of CSCMP and Irvine Chamber, but the event is open to non-members as well ($25 fee)  Register now!

*Attendance and appetizers are free, cash bar available


Take the American Shipper 2016 supply chain analytics benchmark survey


From American Shipper:

Most supply chain practitioners have turned to using analytics, business intelligence or reporting tools to better understand how their transportation networks are functioning, and how they might be improved.

American Shipper, for the first time, is benchmarking this all-important discipline, and we need your valuable feedback to make this initiative a success. Please take the time to participate in our short survey on the analytics. This 14-question poll should take only 5 to 7 minutes, but the insight you provide is incredibly important. In November, we will publish our results with expert analysis in our 2016 Supply Chain Analytics Benchmark Report.

As a token of our appreciation, the first 25 people to take the survey and provide a valid email address will receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card.



Invest in technology to improve visibility to your inbound supply chain




GTNexus has just published a free white paper, “Visibility in the Inbound Supply Chain: Finding a Clear Competitive Advantage as Complexity Grows.

The key takeaway of the report:

The companies that are gaining a competitive edge are the ones investing in technology that can greatly improve inbound visibility and best address the current challenges in the market. They’re using systems that provide end-to-end visibility into inventory and supply chain activity across the globe.

Some of the many advantages of increased visibility, besides the elimination of outdated manual processes, include:


  • Increasing supplier collaboration
  • Improving supply chain agility and reducing inventory
  • Reducing transportation spend
  • Tracking actual landed costs as they accrue
  • Meeting regulatory compliance requirements and streamlining the customs process

The CustomsNow™ ACE-compliant SaaS solutions can help achieve these benefits, especially improvements in customs compliance, release processing, and visibility to the Customs and Partner Government Agency (PGA) status.  For example:

Self-filing (direct filing)

  • By filing entries directly, importers have immediate access to the current status of their import shipments – specifically, visibility to CBP holds (both compliance and security related), PGA holds, and more.
  • For certain types of holds, these importers are better positioned to ensure that the agency has the information needed to make an admissibility decision.
  • Direct filers are able to run AMS queries to verify clearance and avoid delivery delays.

ACE Cargo Query System

  • Provides a real-time electronic (paperless) system that provides immediate proof of U.S. Customs and (as available) PGA cargo release for entries filed in ACE
  • Container freight stations (CFS), bonded warehouses, terminal facilities, and freight forwarders need this. Non-automated parties MUST get automated to obtain electronic proof of CBP and PGA release.

Contact us today to learn more!

Click here to download the GT Nexus visibility white paper (site registration required)


UPDATE:  According to GT Nexus:

  • The 2016 Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference in London was a treasure trove of powerful insights from top supply chain practitioners across all industry verticals. But one statement stood out. Gartner predicts that by 2018, the deployment of end-to-end supply chain visibility solutions will increase by up to 50%.
  • Visibility has ranked on top of the agenda for most supply chain executives for many years and the topic has received its fair share of attention during industry conferences in the last decade. But for the longest time, this desired end-to-end visibility across the entire partner network has remained an elusive goal for most organizations. The main reason for this is that for way too long, companies were led to believe that network-wide visibility can be accomplished with a piece of enterprise software.
  • But after massive investments in traditional enterprise systems, many organizations have come to realize that the kind of on-premise software they were buying simply wasn’t made for a networked world.

Port of LA/LB: Clarification on refund of duties & fees for FDA refused merchandise




US Customs’ Los Angeles Field Office, along with the Agricultural and Prepared Products Center of Excellence and Expertise, has released a Public Bulletin announcing clarification and guidance on revenue refund requests for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated merchandise which has been refused admission into the US.


The bulletin is directed towards “the local trade community,” so it is not clear whether this guidance has nationwide applicability.

Key points:

  • In general, all FDA regulated goods are considered restricted merchandise, and therefore are not necessarily subject to refunds by law
  • CBP will not automatically issue refunds on FDA refused merchandise
  • CBP will no longer automatically accept cancellation requests on entries where duties and/or fees were paid, and the refused merchandise was exported or destroyed (cancellation requests are considered if not duties/fees were paid)
  • To obtain refunds, importers can file a post entry claim or protest, but the refused merchandise must not in any way be able to be reconditioned

Here’s the public notice: LA:LB 2016 Clarification on Refunds of Duties and Fees for FDA Refused Merchandise

See also our blog post on LA/LB’s new rules for refused merchandise (Dec. 2014).

High demand for supply chain professionals in the manufacturing and retail industries

SupplyChain 24/7 has published some significant new trends in the search for new talent in the supply chain industry

  • Demand for supply chain professionals in manufacturing and retail have “gone through the roof.”
  • Women are finally breaking into the top echelons of what had been a male-dominated industry.
  • With big data driving insights, many companies are seeking analysts with mathematical and data driven backgrounds to determine how to best use data to predict trends.
  • There is a need for candidates with technology backgrounds who can understand the causes and effects on operations and how to best use digital developments to streamline processes
  • While a background in mathematics, statistics and data analysis are in high demand, employers are not discounting the importance of soft skills, such as the ability to communicate trends and analysis with senior management

See also our previous post, “Enticing young supply chain professionals with SaaS.”

© SupplyChain 24/7
© SupplyChain 24/7


ACE: What’s changing for duty deferral processing?

ace logo 2016


Effective October 29, 2016, US Customs will cease processing duty deferral entries in ACS and will do so via ACE.  According to CBP, fortunately for filers, most of duty deferral processing will largely stay the same.


1) What will change with duty deferral in ACE?

There are only minor changes to duty deferral processing in ACE.

  • A duty deferral entry cannot be edited in ACE, only lines may be deleted. In order to edit, the original duty deferral entry must be rejected and the trade must resubmit. As necessary, the trade may request CBP reject the entry summary for corrections.

2) Are there any duty deferral resources available?

3) Who do I contact if I have issues?

For questions related to duty deferral, contact your Client Representative or the ACE Account Service Desk at 1-866-530-4172 or ACE.Support@cbp.dhs.gov.

Webinar: Top 10 things to do if you receive an Informed Compliance letter from CBP

URGENTCritical information from our friends at DeLeon TradeBraumiller Law Group, and the Law Office of George R. Tuttle.  who are hosting a free webinar on September 29 from 11:00am – 12:30pm CST to discuss how to respond to a US Customs Informed Compliance letter.  Register here.

CBP has begun to issue informed compliance notification letters to importers. The receipt of an informed compliance notification letter means Regulatory Audit has identified specific problems with the company’s import transactions and is “strongly considering” the company for a comprehensive audit. These audits may include both substantive transaction testing and internal control testing.

These letters advise importers that, while they are not required to make a prior disclosure, they may elect to file a disclosure with CBP. The letters go on to state that, because the company has been provided information relating to specific problems with their import transactions, “violations that may occur in the future could result in seizures and forfeitures of imported merchandise and/or the assessment of monetary penalties.”

Below is a summary of the top 10 actions to consider once receiving an informed compliance letter. 

  1. Consider the Meaning of the Letter. CBP has explained that these letters are a courtesy notification that an audit and/or investigation may be forthcoming. These letters are not random. Why did they send you the letter? Don’t blind side your management, tell them about the letter and what it might mean for the company. Should your company sign and return the letter? What does it mean if you do?  Who should sign? Is there another way?
  2. Get Educated! Have you read the CBP Informed Compliance Publications provided to you via the letter and other sources available on CBP’s website to understand your legal requirements? Attend training and webinars to increase your knowledge and understanding of CBP requirements.
  3. Conduct a Risk Assessment. Focus on the risks identified in the Informed Compliance letter as well as Anti-dumping Duty and Countervailing Duty risk. We also recommend confirming any corrective actions in prior disclosures are working as intended, and review the results of CBP Form 28s, CBP Form 29s, post summary corrections submitted to CBP, as well as any internal post entry audits conducted by the company.
  4. Test and Measure Your Compliance Level. Are you audit ready in all risk areas? CBP may start with the risk area identified in the letter but, if audited, CBP auditors can and frequently do expand and review all risk areas. Conduct targeted sampling based on risk.
  5. Get Management Buy-in. Use data metrics, identify possible loss of revenue and corresponding penalties for your management team.
  6. Evaluate Your Internal Control Program. Include all 5 components of COSO-based internal control. Ensure you have a manual that is audit ready, develop/implement a robust post entry audit process, and ensure you have strong broker management procedures and a dedicated, well-educated compliance team.
  7. Consider a Prior Disclosure. If you find past non-compliance consider the pros and cons of filing a Prior Disclosure to protect the company from penalties. Statistical sampling is a valuable tool to use to limit work. To ensure prior disclosure rights are not cut off, consider filing an initial notice, which would then be completed via a perfected prior disclosure.
  8.  Develop a Corrective Action Plan. Make a plan that will strengthen internal controls to ensure errors do not reoccur. When they do, conduct a root cause analysis.
  9. Implement Corrective Action. Make sure that your corrective action plan is working. Retest compliance levels to validate new controls are working and are effective.
  10. ACT NOW! Don’t wait until CBP is at your door!