Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Business Costs & Regulation

New Security Rules for Ocean and
Air Cargo

Here’s what to keep in mind as government inspectors step up vigilance.

Take care with new security measures on ocean cargo shipments: Mistakes will carry a heavy price. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon enforce detailed requirements for filing information about ship manifests plus data from the shippers themselves: Factory address, tax identification number, the number of units ordered and manufactured, where the container was loaded and so on.

Take care with new security measures on ocean cargo shipments: Mistakes will carry a heavy price. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon enforce detailed requirements for filing information about ship manifests plus data from the shippers themselves: Factory address, tax identification number, the number of units ordered and manufactured, where the container was loaded and so on.

Computer analysis will target shipments with inaccurate or missing information for more probing, including possibly waylaying the cargo before the ship sets sail. If suspicions crop up after departure, cargo will be impounded at the receiving port and inspected before being released. In either case, expensive delays are likely.

It won’t be enough to make sure that the information your firm supplies is accurate. “It is vital to check with all of the vendors and business partners to ensure that they have processes in place to enable your company to periodically review all of their records” to make sure everyone is complying with security mandates, says Susan Kohn Ross, a partner and international trade attorney with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, a law firm. Shipping firms will need to be certain that each customer toes the line or all will be penalized by delays.

Advertisement

Come August, 100% of air cargo on passenger planes must be screened -- not just the 50% of each shipment that the government requires be looked at now. But that’s tougher than it appears because huge pallets with hundreds of boxes are often waved through when they are part of a single aggregated shipment that also contains individual boxes. The one-off boxes are screened to meet the regulation.

To minimize delays, consider freight consolidators certified by the Transportation Security Administration to do preloading inspections, rather than relying on airlines’ screening. Consolidators segregate packages that need special handling, while hustling others through. Or use all-cargo carriers, which have no such requirements.