Customs To Delay Cargo Security Rules

The rules specify the times and details of cargo information that must be provided to CBP for all air shipments of imports and exports. The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) said it had learned that U.S. Customs & Border Protection planned to delay implementation of rules governing air cargo security reporting. In most instances, said NITL, this information must be transmitted electronically to the agency in approved formats for the purpose of identifying high-risk shipments that could compromise cargo safety and security.

For air cargo shipments the rules would require air carriers, importers or brokers, express consignment facilities and/or other air carriers to provide CBP with cargo manifest information four hours prior to landing in the U.S. or, for shorter distances from a U.S. airport, at "wheels up."

NITL expected the tracking process would be implemented regionally over a 90-day period starting May 2004. The anticipated schedule was for the Eastern U.S. to implement by August; the Central U.S. by September; and the Western U.S. by October. Compliance with the new air rules was scheduled to begin on March 4.

Jeffrey Lehman, chairman of the NITL Air Transportation Committee said, "CBP has been unwavering in working closely with air carriers, industry and particularly with shippers, as we have moved through all phases of the legislation and resulting rules. We are building a close relationship out of necessity with the regulatory agencies as they need to know what our capabilities are in meeting their deadlines and also helping them to sort through shipper and manufacturer issues."

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