The Time is Nigh for ACAS

The grace period is nearly up for Air Cargo Advanced Screening (ACAS). Air cargo carriers should already have their method in place prior to June 12th 2019 to technologically meet the advanced security filing requirements for air cargo imports to the U.S.

This data collection and submission program is a joint effort between Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that requires specific shipment information be submitted for U.S. approval prior to loading at a foreign airport. ACAS occurs even earlier than the advanced manifest requirement that is mandatory four hours before arrival. The program was piloted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as early as 2010 and became mandatory June 12 , 2018, with a year’s grace period for conformity.

The goal of the ACAS is to identify high risk cargo prior to it being loaded on an aircraft bound for the U.S. The required information includes: air waybill number; shipper name and address; consignee name and address; cargo description; quantity; and weight. This information probably looks familiar, as it should. It is essentially the same information required for shipping internationally in general, so compiling the data shouldn’t pose a great hinderance to importers’ supply chains.

If high risk cargo is identified, filers get a referral message involving additional screening methods that must be adhered to prior to loading, or a do not load message which alerts local law enforcement. The inbound air carrier is required to file the data if no other eligible party elects to file. According to 19CFR 122.48a eligible filers are Air Carriers (mandatory),  Brokers/Forwarders, Express Carriers, and Freight Stations.

The program stemmed from an incident wherein printer cartridges containing explosives were tendered to cargo carriers in Yemen destined for the U.S. The cargo was discovered in the UK and UAE connection points before they were loaded to the U.S. (and thankfully prior to detonation).

June 12th 2019 marks the end of the grace period wherein CBP will lessen their restraint and start assessing penalties for any ACAS violations. 

Shapiro will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.