[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 206 (Wednesday, October 24, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65006-65009]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26031]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Customs and Border Protection


Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) Pilot Program

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DHS.

ACTION: General notice.

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SUMMARY: This document announces that U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection (CBP) is formalizing and expanding an Air Cargo Advance 
Screening (ACAS) pilot program which revises the time frame for 
transmission by pilot participants of a subset of mandatory advance 
electronic information for air cargo. CBP regulations implementing the 
Trade Act of 2002 require advance information for air cargo to be 
submitted no later than the time of departure of the aircraft for the 
United States (from specified locations) or four hours prior to arrival 
in the United States for all other locations. The ACAS pilot is a 
voluntary test in which participants agree to submit a subset of the 
required data elements (ACAS data) at the earliest point practicable 
prior to loading of the cargo onto the aircraft destined to or 
transiting through the United States. This notice provides a 
description of the ACAS pilot, sets forth eligibility requirements for 
participation, and invites public comment on any aspect of the test.

DATES: CBP is accepting applications from new ACAS pilot participants 
until

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November 23, 2012. Comments concerning this notice and all aspects of 
the announced test may be submitted at any time during the test period.

ADDRESSES: Written comments concerning program, policy, and technical 
issues should be submitted via email to CBPCCS@cbpdhs.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Regina Park, Cargo and Conveyance 
Security, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, 
via email at regina.park@dhs.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Section 343(a) of the Trade Act of 2002, as amended (Trade Act) (19 
U.S.C. 2071 note), requires CBP to promulgate regulations providing for 
the mandatory transmission of electronic cargo information by way of a 
CBP-approved electronic data interchange (EDI) system before the cargo 
is brought into or departs the United States by any mode of commercial 
transportation (sea, air, rail, or truck). The required cargo 
information is that which is reasonably necessary to enable high-risk 
shipments to be identified for purposes of ensuring cargo safety and 
security and preventing smuggling pursuant to the laws enforced and 
administered by CBP.
    On December 5, 2003, CBP published a final rule in the Federal 
Register (68 FR 68140) to effectuate the provisions of the Trade Act. 
In particular, a new Sec.  122.48a (19 CFR 122.48a) was added to the 
title 19 regulations to implement requirements for cargo brought into 
the United States by air. As provided in 19 CFR 122.48a, for any 
inbound aircraft required to enter under 19 CFR 122.41 that will have 
commercial cargo aboard, CBP must electronically receive certain 
information regarding that cargo through a CBP-approved EDI system no 
later than the time of the departure of the aircraft for the United 
States from any foreign port or place in North America, including 
locations in Mexico, Central America, South America (from north of the 
Equator only), the Caribbean, and Bermuda; or no later than 4 hours 
prior to the arrival of the aircraft in the United States for aircraft 
departing for the United States from any other foreign area.
    In October 2010, the global counter-terrorism community disrupted a 
potential terrorist attack when concealed explosive devices were 
discovered in cargo on board aircraft destined for the United States. 
CBP can better prevent such attacks and strengthen air cargo supply 
chain security if the required time frame for the presentation of 
advance electronic cargo information is, in all cases, before the air 
cargo is loaded and early enough so that CBP has sufficient time to 
identify, target, and mitigate high-risk cargo. Therefore, CBP and the 
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have collaborated with the 
private sector to identify strategies to strengthen air cargo supply 
chain security, including developing a mechanism to collect cargo 
information at the earliest point practicable in the supply chain.
    As a result of this collaboration, in December 2010, four express 
consignment air courier companies (``express couriers'') volunteered to 
provide CBP with a subset of the data elements required by 19 CFR 
122.48a as early as possible before cargo is loaded onto an aircraft so 
that the requisite targeting could occur in the pre-loading air cargo 
environment, thus establishing the ACAS pilot. Since then, three 
passenger carriers, one-all cargo carrier, and one freight forwarder 
have joined the ACAS pilot and are operational. As of the summer of 
2012, an additional twelve passenger carriers, two all-cargo carriers, 
and fifteen freight forwarders are in the process of testing or 
development to become operational ACAS pilot participants or have 
actively expressed an interest in doing so. CBP is in ongoing 
communication with stakeholders from all stages of the air cargo supply 
chain in an effort to enhance ACAS effectiveness and functionality from 
an industry perspective. In response to a request from stakeholders, on 
July 27, 2012, CBP published ``Air Cargo Advance Screening Pilot 
Frequently Asked Questions'' at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/cargo_security/cargocontrol/acasp_faq.xml.
    CBP is now formalizing and expanding the pilot to include other 
eligible participants in the air cargo environment, including other 
express couriers, passenger carriers, all-cargo carriers, and freight 
forwarders.

Authority

    CBP has statutory authority to collect advance electronic cargo 
information pursuant to the Trade Act, and has implemented this 
authority in 19 CFR 122.48a. CBP has set forth the procedure for 
conducting test programs, such as the ACAS pilot, in 19 CFR 101.9.

Advance Electronic Air Cargo Information Required by 19 CFR 122.48a

    Under 19 CFR 122.48a, the following advance electronic information 
is required to be transmitted to CBP for air cargo:

(1) Air waybill number(s) (master and house, as applicable)
(2) Trip/flight number
(3) Carrier/ICAO code
(4) Airport of arrival
(5) Airport of origin
(6) Scheduled date of arrival
(7) Total quantity based on the smallest external packing unit
(8) Total weight
(9) Precise cargo description
(10) Shipper name and address
(11) Consignee name and address
(12) Consolidation identifier (conditional)
(13) Split shipment indicator (conditional)
(14) Permit to proceed information (conditional)
(15) Identifier of other party which is to submit additional air 
waybill information (conditional)
(16) In-bond information (conditional)
(17) Local transfer facility (conditional)

    Paragraph (d) of 19 CFR 122.48a specifies, based on the type of 
shipment, what information the air carrier must transmit to CBP and 
what information other eligible filers may transmit to CBP. For non-
consolidated shipments, the air carrier must transmit to CBP the above 
cargo information for the air waybill record. For consolidated 
shipments, the air carrier must transmit to CBP the above cargo 
information that is applicable to the master air waybill, and the air 
carrier must transmit a subset of the above information for all 
associated house air waybills, unless another eligible filer transmits 
this information to CBP. For split shipments, the air carrier must 
submit an additional subset of this information for each house air 
waybill.
    As noted above, for any inbound aircraft required to enter under 19 
CFR 122.41 that will have commercial cargo aboard, CBP must 
electronically receive the above information regarding that cargo 
through a CBP-approved EDI system no later than the time of the 
departure of the aircraft for the United States from any foreign port 
or place in North America, including locations in Mexico, Central 
America, South America (from north of the Equator only), the Caribbean, 
and Bermuda; or no later than 4 hours prior to the arrival of the 
aircraft in the United States for aircraft departing for the United 
States from any other foreign area.

Description of ACAS Pilot

Submission of ACAS Data

    Participants in the ACAS pilot agree to provide a subset of the 
required 19 CFR 122.48a data elements (ACAS data) at the earliest point 
practicable before

[[Page 65008]]

the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft destined to or transiting through 
the United States. Currently, the ACAS data consists of:

(1) Air waybill number
(2) Total quantity based on the smallest external packing unit
(3) Total weight
(4) Cargo description
(5) Shipper name and address
(6) Consignee name and address

The ACAS data is used to target high-risk air cargo. These six data 
elements were chosen because they are available to air carriers and 
other participants early in the lifecycle of a cargo transaction and 
allow the ACAS risk assessment and workflow to be completed early 
enough in the supply chain to enhance security while minimizing 
disruption to the flow of goods. The collection of the ACAS data is 
covered under OMB Control Number 1651-0001, in accordance with the 
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3507(d)). If CBP decides to add other 19 CFR 122.48a data elements to 
the ACAS data, this will be announced in the Federal Register.
    In the ACAS pilot, participants agree to submit the ACAS data to 
CBP through a CBP-approved EDI system. While the CBP-approved EDI under 
19 CFR 122.48a is Air AMS, ACAS data may be transmitted to CBP as 
specified below in the section on eligibility requirements. CBP and TSA 
\1\ are co-located at the National Targeting Center (NTC) and 
facilitate cooperative targeting and identification of high-risk air 
cargo based on this ACAS data. Any air cargo identified as high-risk 
will receive holds until the identified threat is mitigated through the 
provision of additional clarifying information related to the shipment, 
and/or adherence to the appropriate existing TSA screening protocols, 
as well as CBP/TSA Do Not Load protocols, depending on the direction 
provided by the NTC. Details related to these procedures are considered 
Sensitive Security Information (SSI), and will be made available to 
approved ACAS pilot participants as necessary.
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    \1\ TSA's involvement in the ACAS pilot is authorized under 49 
U.S.C. 114(f) and (m), and 44901(g), as amended by the Implementing 
Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, Public Law 110-53, 121 
Stat. 266 (Aug. 3, 2007), and under authority of the Secretary of 
Homeland Security, as delegated to the Assistant Secretary of 
Homeland Security for TSA, under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 
as amended (6 U.S.C. 112(b)).
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Eligibility Requirements

    CBP is seeking participation from stakeholders in the air cargo 
environment, including express couriers, passenger carriers, all-cargo 
carriers, and freight forwarders. There are no restrictions with regard 
to organization size, location, or commodity type. However, 
participation is limited to those parties with sufficient information 
technology infrastructure and support, as described below. Prospective 
ACAS pilot participants will need to assess whether they can fulfill 
the following eligibility requirements:
 ACAS pilot participants will need to have the technical 
capability to electronically submit data to CBP and receive hold 
messaging responses via one of the following:
    [cir] An existing point to point connection with CBP;
    [cir] A connection to CBP through a trade service provider (SITA, 
ARINC, Descartes, etc.);
    [cir] A secure VPN connection with CBP that the ACAS pilot 
participant is willing to set up.
 ACAS pilot participants who do not have an existing connection 
with CBP, or who are modifying their connection type, will need to sign 
an Interconnection Security Agreement (ISA) or amend their existing 
ISA, if necessary, and adhere to security policies defined in the DHS 
4300a security guide. Participants using an existing CBP connection 
covered by a valid and up to date ISA will have already met these 
requirements.
 ACAS pilot participants will need to establish operational 
security protocols that correspond to CBP hold messages that require 
the participant to take responsive action and respond to CBP confirming 
that the requested action was taken, that is, to mitigate, according to 
TSA screening protocols, any threat which is identified by the NTC; 
respond promptly with complete and accurate information when contacted 
by the NTC with questions regarding the data submitted; and follow any 
Do Not Load instructions.

Application Process and Acceptance

    Those interested in participating in the ACAS pilot should submit 
an email to CBPCCS@cbp.dhs.gov, stating their interest and their 
qualifications based on the above eligibility requirements. The email 
should also include a point of contact. The email will serve as an 
electronic signature of intent. Applications will be accepted until 
November 23, 2012 and will be processed in the order in which they are 
received.
    Pilot participants will receive technical, operational, and policy 
guidance through all stages of pilot participation--from planning to 
implementation--on the necessary steps for the transmission of ACAS 
data. Therefore, the number of applicants CBP will accept will depend 
on CBP's technical, fiscal, and personnel capacity to provide the 
necessary guidance. Once applications are processed, those selected as 
ACAS pilot participants will be notified by CBP by email.

Conditions of Participation

    ACAS pilot participants are to provide the ACAS data to CBP at the 
earliest point practicable prior to loading of cargo onto the aircraft 
ultimately destined for or transiting through the United States. In 
addition to the submission of the ACAS data to CBP, ACAS pilot 
participants are to: (1) Mitigate, according to TSA screening 
protocols, any threat which is identified by the NTC; (2) respond 
promptly with complete and accurate information when contacted by the 
NTC with questions regarding the data submitted; (3) follow any Do Not 
Load instructions; and (4) partake in regular teleconferences or 
meetings established by CBP, when necessary, to ensure any issues or 
challenges regarding the pilot are communicated and addressed.
    Participation in the ACAS pilot does not impose any legally binding 
obligations on either CBP or TSA or the participant. In addition, CBP 
does not intend to enforce or levy punitive measures if ACAS pilot 
participants are non-compliant with these conditions of participation 
of the pilot.

Filing Options

    ACAS pilot participants will send and receive advance security 
filing data and related action messages for all air cargo to CBP. The 
ACAS pilot uses messages based on existing industry standard message 
formats (Cargo-IMP and CAMIR-Air). This will simplify the process for 
establishing a connection with and transmitting ACAS data to CBP and 
will increase the likelihood that participants are able to reuse 
existing system software. While the overall form of the ACAS pilot 
message formats is similar to the form of the Cargo-IMP and CAMIR-Air 
message formats on which it is based, the ACAS pilot message formats 
have slight differences in edits, timing, and new coded values, as 
needed to accommodate only the necessary data elements.

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    Currently, three possible filing options have been identified:
     Air Carrier Dual Filing--The air carrier transmits the 
ACAS data prior to loading and performs any required TSA screening. The 
air carrier must subsequently transmit the advance electronic cargo 
information as required by 19 CFR 122.48a.
     Progressive Filing--The party electing to file the ACAS 
data transmits the House Air Waybill (AWB) ACAS data, in addition to 
the associated master air waybill number, directly to CBP as early as 
possible in the supply chain. The air carrier may also opt to send 
house, master, or simple bill data messages for the same shipment. The 
response message from CBP would reflect the current status of the 
shipment. The air carrier can also send ACAS data for the same 
shipment. If any requisite TSA screening is not or cannot be conducted 
by the freight forwarder, it is expected that the air carrier will 
perform the required TSA screening. The air carrier must subsequently 
transmit the advance electronic cargo information as required by 19 CFR 
122.48a.
     Single Filing--The air carrier or eligible participant 
transmits all of the advance electronic cargo information as required 
by 19 CFR 122.48a prior to loading the cargo, and performs any required 
TSA screening. This transmission prior to loading will be used by CBP 
as the submission of both the ACAS data and the advance electronic 
cargo information required by 19 CFR 122.48a.

Costs to ACAS Pilot Participants

    ACAS pilot participants are responsible for all costs incurred as a 
result of their participation in the pilot and such costs will vary, 
depending on their pre-existing infrastructures. Costs may include 
carrier communication requirements, such as submission and receipt of 
data, and the cost of implementing the necessary screening protocols.

Benefits to ACAS Pilot Participants

    While the benefits to ACAS pilot participants will vary, several 
advantages of joining may include:
     Increases in security by leveraging DHS threat and other 
data to employ a risk-based approach to improve air cargo security 
through targeted screening;
     Gains in efficiencies by automating the identification of 
high risk cargo for enhanced screening before it is consolidated and 
loaded on aircraft;
     Establishment of mitigation protocols for high-risk 
shipments;
     The ability to provide input into CBP and TSA efforts to 
establish, test, and refine the interface between government and 
industry communication systems for the implementation of ACAS;
     Ensuring a variety of business models are considered in 
the development and implementation of ACAS;
     Facilitation of corporate preparedness for future 
mandatory implementation of ACAS submission requirements; and
     Reduction in paper processes related to cargo screening 
requirements which may increase carrier efficiency.

Regulatory and Statutory Requirements

    Participation in the ACAS pilot does not alter the participant's 
obligations to comply with applicable statutory and regulatory 
requirements, including 19 CFR 122.48a, and participants will still be 
subject to applicable penalties for non-compliance. In addition, 
submission of data under the ACAS pilot does not exempt the participant 
from TSA security program requirements or any statutory sanctions in 
the event a controlled substance or other prohibited article is 
introduced into the United States on a conveyance owned and/or operated 
by the participant.

Duration and Evaluation of the ACAS Pilot

    The ACAS pilot will run for six months from October 24, 2012. While 
the pilot is ongoing, the results will be evaluated and a determination 
will be made as to whether the pilot will be extended. If the pilot is 
extended, CBP will publish another notice in the Federal Register. When 
sufficient pilot analysis and evaluation has been conducted, CBP 
intends to begin rulemaking to require the submission of ACAS data 
before the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft for all international 
shipments either destined for or transiting through the United States. 
The results of the ACAS pilot will help determine the relevant data 
elements, the time frame within which data should be submitted to 
permit CBP to effectively target, identify and mitigate any risk with 
the least impact practicable on trade operations, and any other related 
procedures and policies.

    Dated: October 17, 2012.
David V. Aguilar,
Deputy Commissioner.
[FR Doc. 2012-26031 Filed 10-23-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-14-P