Customs and Border Patrol Extends Pilot Program and Opens to New Applicants

This week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection filed notice in the Federal Register that the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) Pilot Program would be extended through July 26, 2016, and announced a deadline of October 26, 2015 for new companies to apply to join the pilot program. The ACAS pilot is a voluntary test program in which companies submit advance air cargo data to CBP prior to the loading of the cargo either destined to or transiting through the United States. CBP uses ACAS data to target highrisk air cargo, and the agency is currently considering the success and lessons learned from the pilot program in advance of proposing any potential regulations on air cargo screening. The results of the ACAS pilot program will help to determine the relevant data elements, time frame within which the data must be submitted to CBP, and identify and mitigate any risk with the least impact practicable on trade operators.

The ACAS pilot program began with a six-month test in October 2012. The program has since been extended, and the number of participants increased, in an effort to not only improve the data available to CBP to evaluate the pilot program, but also to provide industry with sufficient opportunity to participate and prepare for regulatory changes. CBP does not reimburse companies for the costs of compliance, including computer and information technology upgrades to facilitate sharing data with CBP. For companies willing to take on those costs, more information on eligibility is available in the original Federal Register docket.

For active participants, CBP outlines specific data points that the agency requests be made as early as possible in the transportation process. Participation in the ACAS pilot does not impose any legally binding obligations on federal agencies or the participant. Additionally, no punitive measures are levied or enforced on pilot participants for non-compliance with the conditions of participation.

Airfreight is a highly competitive segment of the transportation marketplace. For more information on this federal register announcement, or for information on how to participate in TIA’s Airfreight Committee, please contact Will Sehestedt at or 703-299-5713.