ACAS pilot programme extended again

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The US government’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency’s air cargo advance screening (ACAS) pilot programme is asking for new participants as it has been extended again, pushing back the date by which its implementation becomes mandatory for the airfreight community.

The ACAS pilot is a voluntary test in which participating companies submit a subset of required advance air cargo data to CBP at the earliest point practicable prior to loading of the cargo onto the aircraft, destined to or transiting through the US. The ACAS data is used to target high risk air cargo.

The CBP also says of the advance information, that it must be submitted no later than the time of departure of the aircraft for the US or four hours prior to arrival in the US, depending on the point of origin.

The data is known as seven plus one. The one is the air waybill number. The other seven bits of data describe the cargo and who the shipper and consignee are and their locations. Originally, from October 2012, ACAS was to have run for six months with the first expanded set of participants. It was repeatedly extended to Sunday 26 July this year.

The 27 July 2015 US government extension announcement says: “The CBP continues to receive a number of requests to participate in the pilot.” The new one year extension has an end date of 26 July 2016. The US government is also reopening the application period for new participants for 90 days. The closing date is 26 October 2015. The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) says: “Each extension of the pilot period and reopening of the application period has allowed for a significant increase in the diversity and number of pilot participants.

TIACA urges industry members to apply to the programme, and especially encourages forwarder and airline participants to actively align in specific lanes or markets to fully test the dual filing procedures.

“Dual filing will enable forwarders to file in advance of physically tendering cargo to their carriers, a key benefit in keeping shipments moving smoothly.”
The US government anouncement adds: “CBP is considering possible amendments to the regulations regarding advance information for air cargo.”