MEMO TO CLIENTS ISSUE 15-006 – April 1, 2015

Congestion May be Clearing up Sooner
Than Expected
At the TPM Conference in early March, many
predictions were made that congestion delays
would continue until the end of May. At the
end of this past week we have heard from
some terminal operators that the congestion
is breaking up sooner than expected and we
could see relief by the end of April. This is
supported by the Marine Exchange, which
shows that as of Tuesday there were only 7
ships still at anchor in Los Angeles/ Long
Beach compared to the 28 ships at anchor on
March 14. Before congestion began, there
were commonly 5 or 6 ships at anchor daily in
the regular flow of cargo. We will be watching
results closely.
FDA Developing a Trusted Trade
Program for Food Importers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
is trying to develop a Voluntary Qualified
Importer Program (VQIP) by 2017. The VQIP is
a trusted trade program that aims to give
participants benefits such as fewer exams and
sampling. FDA would like VQIP to have 2 levels
of participation with the higher level having an
additional benefit of expedited lab analysis for
their samples. Participants would be required
to have foreign facilities certified under thirdparty
accreditation. FDA would also require
participants to be at Tier II of the Customs-
Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
FDA is expected to issue a Federal Register
Notice by the end of October on a final ruling
on third-party accreditation policies that
would be integral to the development of VQIP. Disputing Demurrage and Per Diem
Charges Assessed During Port
Many of our customers have been hit with
demurrage charges for containers that were
released from Customs custody that the
terminals could not pull for delivery. Though
the inability for truckers to pick up cargo was
due to the terminal’s congestion problems
and of no fault of the beneficial cargo owners
(BCO’s) nor the trucker, several importers
were charged demurrage.
Similarly, after containers were de-vanned
and set up to be returned, several terminals
would not accept them back because there
wasn’t enough room causing them to turn
away many truckers. Yet the terminals still
charged per diem fees for containers they
had not received. In these circumstances,
the charges collected were unfair to BCO’s
who have borne most of the costs due to the
Recently we participated, along with several
West Coast brokers, in a meeting with the
Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in
Washington, DC. We were told that BCO’s
can submit documentation on demurrage
and per diem charges to the FMC’s Consumer
Affairs and Dispute Resolution Service
(CADRS) staff. BCO’s should receive a
response within 24 hours under FMC’s Rapid
Response program. If the documentation is
complete, giving the details on the attempts
to pick up and/or deliver containers, showing
the exact charges due, and those that were
paid in question, CADRS staff will often
contact the carrier and/or the terminals for a
withdrawal of those charges. Documentation
should be submitted to
moc.cmfnull@stnialpmoc. CPSC Proposes to Include Registry of Certificates for Entry Process
In May of 2013, The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a Federal Register Notice requiring product safety compliance certificates to be attached electronically to the Customs entry. The proposal did not specify how the certificates would be attached to the entries. With the Presidential Order in 2014 for agencies to be ready for one window processing through the International Trade Data System (ITDS), CPSC is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to develop their requirements under the ITDS data sets that were agreed upon.
Filers will be able to input 10 pieces of specific data from each Certificate of Conformity to be filed at an entry line level with each entry, but this process may prove to be labor intensive and add costs to the entry process. CPSC has also proposed to create a registry for certificates of Conformity. Importer’s certificates would be filed in advance of entry with the CPSC Registry and a specific number will be assigned to each certificate. At the time of entry, CPSC would allow a filer to include only the certificate number that is registered with the CPSC to assist with a better, more efficient CBP entry process.
CPSC is also preparing a pilot program to allow importers to batch file certificates of conformity to allow for a simpler format for the importers that have large numbers of certificates to file. We will watch for the announcement of the pilot program for our customers. Canada and the U.S. Sign Pre Clearance Agreement
On March 16th officials from Canada and the United States signed a trade agreement allowing customs officials from each country to work on the other side of the border at joint pre clearance site for passengers and most interestingly, cargo. The agreement will affect all modes of transport: car, bus, plane, rail, truck, air cargo, cruise ships and Amtrak passengers.
If you have been to Canada within the last twenty years you know that there are CBP officers in Canada at the eight major airports pre clearing U.S. bound passengers. This program will expand on this and take it to a new level. Few details are known at this time, as Congress and Parliament in Canada need to approve the pact. We will keep our eyes out for any news.