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Fast Lane for Cargo Containers Now Available at Ten Seaports

CBP added on 15 September the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Newark, Savannah, Miami and Seattle/Tacoma to the list of ports that will allow eligible sea carriers to apply for advance unlading facilitation benefits. That list already included the ports of New Orleans, Oakland, Baltimore and Port Everglades, Florida.

The Advanced Qualified Unlading Approval (AQUA) programme allows ocean carriers that are qualified under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and that are also compliant with importer security filing and certain agriculture requirements to apply for AQUA electronically through their vessel agent a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival. CBP will review the request and provide notification to the vessel agent on whether the request has been approved or denied. All containers must be delivered directly to a C-TPAT member terminal operator and the crew must remain on-board the vessel until formal CBP processing is done.

Beginning on 15 December, CBP plans to expand this programme to the ports of Charleston, Houston, Jacksonville, Honolulu, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Wilmington (Delaware), Wilmington (North Carolina), Boston, and San Juan. Advanced unlading is expected to be implemented at all remaining ports in February 2017.

CBP anticipates that AQUA will immediately affect about 85 C-TPAT sea carrier members and reverberate throughout the entire supply chain due to quicker unlading times. Carriers should also be able to better predict unlading times for labour cost purposes and lower their costs for fuel, dockage fees, etc. CBP, in turn, will be able to better allocate resources and manpower as necessary.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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