I spent the better part of a week this month attending meetings in my capacity as the Area 4 Representative to the NCBFAA Board of Directors and the Airfreight Subcommittee Chair as well their 40th Annual Conference.
Air Freight Panel: Myself, Todd Hoffman, Thomas Friedman, Sandra Scott, Warren Jones.
During the conference, I moderated a panel entitled “100 Years of Commercial Aviation”. Speaking on the panel were:
- Sandra Scott, SEKO Worldwide
- Warren Jones of Cargo Network Services, the US arm of IATA
- Thomas Friedman of the Transportation Security Administration
- Todd Hoffman, Customs and Border Protection
Each brought their own perspective to the table, but we discussed the resurgence, demand and need for air cargo services, cargo screening (both inbound and outbound) and the future of e-AWB’s and how there possibly, possibly might be a way to use electronic flags in lieu of paper security documents that TSA requires. By driving paper out of the process for security, CBP and TSA open the door to greater participation in the electronic air waybill programs by freight forwarders around the United States.
There were also no shortage of Customs issues discussed, and a few that I took away as being very important were:
- ACE is coming! November, 2015, CBP will have transitioned most, if not all, entry functions to ACE and brokers should be on it by then if they’re not putting a toe in the water and starting to use it already. ACE’s biggest downfall right now is that the edits (checks on data) aren’t as robust as ACS, so brokers have to be extremely vigilant and attentive to the data they are putting into the system.
- eBonds are coming! By 2015, CBP will be receiving single transaction bond information electronically, giving sureties more real-time visibility into the financial obligations that brokers are tying them to. eBond, together with ACE, could allow for remote filing of entries and possibly drive up the number of paperless releases enjoyed by importers who hold continuous bonds.
- CEE’s are here and standing up quickly. There are ten Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE’s) in which Customs is gathering resources and knowledge to process their leading commodity groups for import. These facilities are scattered about the USA in different cities, but they draw on local and national expertise. Large importers are participating voluntarily, but CBP is beginning to invite others to have their entries processed through them. By “processed”, CBP envisions a day in the future (again, with ACE) where a broker submits an entry summary for release at a port and CBP will route the data automatically to the CEE for summary processing, bypassing the commodity specialist team (CST) in the port where the entry was filed.
These are just a few of the things that I took away from the conference. There were also sessions on export regulatory changes, FMC policy, ACE, the role of the broker, recurrent training requirements and the concept of a “known importer” that the NCBFAA and CBP are discussing.
The conference is also a tremendous opportunity to network and connect with old friends and make new ones as well. One thing I’m not bashful about doing it’s introducing myself.
Peter Quinter, Miami-based attorney and yours truly at the Gala Dinner.
If you’d like to know more about any of these issues, feel free to contact me and it would be my pleasure to discuss them with you.