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Martime Safety and Security Report Worldwide Developments

Homeland Security Announces Cargo Security Final Rules

Andre Fernando January 2004 Meeting

The Department of Homeland Security issued a press release today announcing that the department has released final rules that will allow the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to collect cargo information necessary to identify high-risk shipments which could threaten the safety and security of the United States.

“We need to take advantage of every opportunity to make our country safe from terrorists and terrorist weapons,” said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, according to the release. “Advance information is a cornerstone in our efforts to secure our nation's borders and ensure the flow of trade. The security measures resulting from these rules are necessary to achieve these twin goals.”

DHS stated that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection will process advance cargo information into an automated targeting system linked to various law enforcement and commercial databases.

“This initial step will enable CBP to efficiently identify shipments that pose a potential risk,” DHS added. "Previously, most non-maritime inbound shipments entered into the U.S. without being screened by an automated targeting system. As a result, most cargo shipments could not be assessed for risk prior to arrival. The Trade Act provides the Department of Homeland Security with the authority to eliminate antiquated, paper-driven processes for cargo crossing our borders.”

“This takes us beyond the maritime 24-Hour Rule to incorporate advance electronic information for all cargo shipments to the U.S., pertaining to commercial trucking, air freight and rail. It is a bold but necessary move to better secure our borders against the terrorist threat without delaying the flow of legitimate trade,” said CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner, according to the release.

Customs received significant input from the trade community and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA), and carefully considered - and in many cases adopted - the trades’ recommendations, the release added.

DHS stated that the following are the time lines for all modes of transportation:

Inbound:

  • “Air & Courier - 4 hours prior to arrival in U.S., or ‘wheels up’ from certain nearby areas”
  • “Rail - 2 hours prior to arrival at a U.S. port of entry”
  • “Vessel - 24 hours prior to lading at foreign port”
  • “Truck - Free And Secure Trade (FAST): 30 minutes prior to arrival in U.S.; non-FAST: 1 hour prior to arrival in the U.S.”

Outbound:

  • “Air & Courier - 2 hours prior to scheduled departure from the U.S.”
  • “Rail - 2 hours prior to the arrival of the train at the border”
  • “Vessel - 24 hours prior to departure from U.S. port where cargo is laden”
  • “Truck - 1 hour prior to the arrival of the truck at the border.”

The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection stated on its web site that the agency transmitted the final regulations to Congress today, noting that Congress has 15 days to review them. A summary of the final trade act regulations sent to Congress for review and a matrix of rules by mode of transportation can be accessed on-line at: www.cbp.gov, using the "Trade Act of 2002 - Advance Electronic Information” link.

Customs advised that the final regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register by December 5, 2003.

TSA to Require Random Inspection of Air Cargo

According to a press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the TSA has issued security directives that will require random inspection of air cargo, and will require foreign all-cargo air carriers to comply with the same cargo security procedures that domestic air carriers must follow.

“Passenger aircraft that carry cargo and all-cargo planes, both foreign and domestic, will be subject to the random inspections on flights within, into, and out of the U.S. Inspections will be done by the carriers,” TSA stated in the release. “TSA will ensure that inspections are completed properly.”

According to an article published on-line Nov. 21 by the Journal of Commerce, it is expected that random inspections will be required on a minimum of 10 percent of all cargo moved through a given airline during a specified time frame. The inspections that will be conducted by the airlines are expected to involve physical content verification.

Although the TSA directives were not disclosed to the public, airline executives have advised that they were instructed to submit business plans to the TSA outlining their compliance with the new security measures by today, Dec. 1. In addition, the directives reportedly require that the airlines' plans must verify the identities of persons with access to planes and that they must ensure the security of parked aircraft. The directives also outline reporting requirements for foreign air carriers should potential threats arise.

TSA added that foreign all-cargo air carriers operating into and out of the United States also will be required to follow security plans approved by TSA which include detailed procedures for screening.

Several airlines have warned that they may need to hold cargo 24-hours prior to flight departure to comply with the new security and random inspection requirements. It is possible that shippers may experience increased cycle-times and costs due to additional airline handling.

New U.S. Food Import Requirements

New regulations issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect the U.S. food supply take effect on Friday, December 12. The regulations on Registration of Food Facilities require both U.S. and non-U.S. food facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States to register with the FDA. The regulations on Prior Notice of Imported Food Shipments require U.S. food importers to provide the FDA with advance notice food shipments that will be consumed by humans or animals.

These regulations are required because the U.S. Congress passed the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which allows FDA to identify companies who have handled food through information provided by companies who must register their food facilities.

Registration of Food Facilities requires both U.S. and non-U.S. food facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States to register with the FDA. The FDA stated that it expects about 420,000 facilities to register under this requirement.

The FDA has published several documents that give information on registering food facilities. A fact sheet that FDA has published about registration included the following important points:

Who must register? - The owner, operator, or agent in charge of a U.S. or non-U.S. facility that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food for human or animal consumption in the U.S., or an individual authorized by one of them, must register that facility with FDA. A non-U.S. facility must designate a U.S. agent who must live or maintain a place of business in the U.S. and be physically present in the U.S. (Note: Expeditors does not act as a U.S. agent for FDA food facility registration.)

Do all non-U.S. facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for consumption in the U.S have to register? - No. If a non-U.S. facility that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food sends it to another foreign facility for further manufacturing, processing or packaging before the food is exported to the U.S., only the second non-U.S. facility is required to register. However, if the second foreign facility performs only a minor activity, such as putting on a label, both facilities would be required to register. Also, any foreign facility that packs or holds food after the last foreign manufacturer/processor of the food must register.

How often must a facility register? - Registration is required only once for each food facility. However, required registration information must be updated if it changes.

How can a facility register? - Facilities may register online via the Internet at www.fda.gov/furls, which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What happens if a facility does not register? - Failure of a U.S. or non-U.S. facility to register, update required elements, or cancel its registration may result in freight being held by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection when the freight arrives in the United States.

Prior Notice of Imported Food Shipments requires U.S. food importers to provide the FDA with advance notice of food shipments imported on or after Dec. 12, 2003. Prior notice of imported foods must be received and confirmed electronically by FDA no more than five days before arrival into the United States and no fewer than: two hours before arrival by land via truck; four hours before arrival by air or by land via rail; or eight hours before arrival by ocean vessel.

Prior notice can be filed directly by a U.S. importer or by the U.S. importer's customs broker or other agent. The registration numbers that are assigned to non-U.S. food facilities are required to file the prior notice with FDA. This is why registering as a non-U.S. food facility is very important.

Imported Food Shipments at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~acrobat/fsbtpn.pdf. The FDA's Bioterrorism Act web page can be accessed on-line at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/bioterrorism/bioact.html. Registration guidance and prior notice guidance documents can be accessed on the Bioterrorism page, or via the "Food Facility Registration” link on the FDA's main web page at: http://www.fda.gov.

Canadian Government Creates Canada Border Services Agency

According to a press release issued by Citizen and Immigration Canada, the Canadian government on Friday announced the creation of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which will be part of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

“On this second anniversary of the signing of the Canada-United States Smart Border Declaration, the CBSA will build on its success to ensure the twin goals of economic security and public safety,” the release stated. “The CBSA will continue to use the principles of risk management to expedite the flow of low-risk people and goods to focus efforts on high-risk travellers and commercial traffic more effectively.”

The Citizen and Immigration Canada release stated that when the CBSA came into being, a number of employees from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) were transferred to the new agency.

“Essentially, the CBSA will comprise the Customs program, formerly with the CCRA, the intelligence, interdiction and enforcement functions, formerly with CIC, and the passenger and initial import inspection services at ports of entry, formerly with CFIA,” the release stated. “To protect the interests of immigrants and refugees, immigration policy will remain the responsibility of CIC, which will continue to be present at all major airports and land crossings to issue immigration benefits, greet new Canadians and make immigration determinations. Importers of commercial shipments of plants, animals or food products should continue to communicate directly with CFIA's import service centers.”

The release advised that all employees will continue to provide the same service from the same work locations until further notice, adding that the main change is that those employees will provide their services and exercise their authorities on behalf of the minister responsible for the CBSA.

Canada’s Office of the Prime Minister announced the creation of the CBSA along with a series of other government changes, some of which combine agencies and departments in ways similar to those used by the United States government when the Department of Homeland Security was created.

“Creating a Canada Border Services Agency to build on the Smart Border Initiative and the important progress that has been made in expediting trade and travel while enhancing security with respect to high risk arrivals, and continue to work in close collaboration with business, labor immigrant and refugee groups, and other important stakeholders in pursuing these changes" was listed by the Office of the Prime Minister as one of the means for securing Canada's public health and safety under the new government initiatives.

Additional information can be accessed on-line at: http://www1.pm.gc.ca/eng/chgs_to_gov.asp or at http://www1.pm.gc.ca/.

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