NCBFAA Conference In Review

The NCBFAA held its annual conference in Tucson the first week of May and Kellie and Marianna represented Camelot. They were two of more than 530 customs brokers and freight forwarders who came together to hear the latest news on topics like port congestion, demurrage and detention, forced labor, the CEE’s and more.

From Customs and Border Protection

Aside from technical discussions about funding and deploying features & functionality for ACE 2.0 (the system which undergirds all of CBP’s activities), the biggest conversations surrounded the issues of withhold release orders and forced labor. The agency is currently managing 54 active WRO’s and 9 active findings across a number of industries. The biggest change within UFLPA compared to everything else is what is called the rebuttal provision, where there is a presumption of guilt (that forced labor was used to produce something) and the burden is on the importer to explicitly prove the contrary. 

CBP can and will provide exceptions when they are substantiated, but they will be approved by the Commissioner (read: the appropriate staff) and then are reported to Congress.

From the FMC

FMC Chairman Dan Maffei was remarkably candid with the crowd and was extremely sympathetic to the plight of cargo owners and shared what the agency is working on to make things better. Obviously there is the Ocean Shipping Reform Act which has gone to conference and everyone is waiting to see what the final language of that bill will include.

The agency is also taking action against carriers for improper demurrage and detention billing. Hapag Lloyd and Wan Hai were each fined well over $800,000 and the likelihood is that the actions won’t stop there. 

An audience member also raised the issue of not just equipment demurrage and detention with lines, but also the behavior of Class I railroads and containers moving inland on through bills of lading. When asked whether or not it was a jurisdictional issue for the FMC or the Surface Transportation Board, Chairman Maffei remarked that if somebody brought them a situation where it seemed like a legal argument could be made for their jurisdiction, he would not have an aversion to bringing a case and seeing how it went.

From the PGA’s

Aside from the FMC reminding attendees of the impending July 24th deadline for DUNS numbers for FSVP facilities, the two agencies making the biggest news were Fish & Wildlife and the CPSC.

Fish and Wildlife is working on a go-live date for mandatory filing of FWS data through ACE. The agency reported over 17,000 entries processed through ACE from over 200 separate filers in March. 50% provided a full data set and 50% provided a limited data set. The agency would like to get to a point with messaging and ACE where they can, like FDA, conditionally release goods to an importer’s premises.

The CPSC is also expanding their technology pilot with a goal to having full, mandatory electronic filing on a list of approximately 300 HTS numbers (the agency would not share for targeting and OPSEC purposes) by 2025. The agency wants to have a Federal Register notice published by next month seeking 30 – 50 importers to participate and we will watch for this notice and advise any customers with CPSC-governed merchandise if they are interested in participating.

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