The Forwarder Online Magazine

Security at Sea: meeting looks at strengthening measures to protect sea carriers, maritime supply chain

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By Kim Biggar

On June 19, members of the Customs Electronic Systems Action Committee (CESAC) met in Riverdale, Maryland with a full agenda.

Co-presenters from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened the meeting with a review of the North American Sea Container Initiative (NASCI).

The NASCI is a voluntary Canada-U.S. government-industry initiative. Its objectives are to:

  • Enhance understanding of challenges and opportunities for identifying and reducing pest risks in the sea container supply chain;
  • Enhance understanding of logistics of container movement in North America;
  • Conduct outreach and education to stakeholders, industries and organizations;
  • Collect data to measure risk of pathway and effectiveness of outreach; and
  • Encourage global adoption of similar, voluntary programs through the International Plant Protection Convention and other relevant international and regional forums.

Information is available on both the USDA-APHIS and CFIA websites.

The speakers closed their presentation with a video, “Preventing the Spread of Invasive Pests,” from the North American Plant Protection Organization.

Next up was a presentation from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the CTPAT sea carrier minimum security criteria (MSC), which were recently significantly revised and strengthened and will take effect in 2020.

Two sections—Security Vision and Responsibility, and Agricultural Security—were added to the MSC and the IT Security section was renamed Cybersecurity and expanded to cover the growing threat to businesses based on their interconnectivity through the internet. Some former recommendations were changed to requirements, and implementation guidance was added to help clarify expectations.

The final version of the new MSC for sea carriers has been uploaded to the portal.

A discussion of CBP’s Forms Automation Initiative followed. CBP is working on automation of the arrival and clearance of vessels, with tests ongoing at several ports. Information will be accessed through its own portal, separate from the ACE Portal.

House bill release functionality was noted as a priority for which funding is not currently available. Its development is tied to rehosting of the new ACE process platform. CBP is looking to build a full multimodal manifest platform.

Regarding the in-bond rule, CBP is moving toward the last round of automation. Updated in-bond policy guidelines were to be issued soon after the meeting date. At that time, it was also anticipated that an operations guidance document for export manifest filing would be released in July 2019 for ocean, air and rail.

It was also reported that the automated export manifest is expected to be implemented at the end of 2020.

Other agenda items looked at changes to reporting requirements for intangible technology in the Automated Export System (AES), as well as some changes made to the Automated Export System Trade Interface Requirements (AESTIR); wrongly issued Import Security Filing (ISF) penalties; and Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) compliance and enforcement issues.