Monday, November 16, 2020

Brexit Import System May Not be Alone Facing Problems in the New Year

New US Regulation Could Delay Millions of Shipments from January
Shipping News Feature

US – According to some sources it would appear that it is not only the UK that may encounter problems with imports as from 1 January 2021. It seems legislation which was put into effect by (soon to be ex) President Trump, in a bid to curtail illegal drug dealing, is set to affect millions of shipments.

In 2018 Trump signed into law the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act (Stop Act), designed to prevent illicit substances coming into the country, primarily from China and Mexico. The resultant legislation means from New Year’s Day electronic notices are required to be filed by foreign postal services detailing the exact composition of all goods within packages being posted to America.

At the end of September this year a white paper issued by the US Postal Service stated that it would not be ready in time to provide Advanced Electronic Data (AED) on all incoming packages, a statement which has led to uproar, particularly from the author of the legislation, Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.

Portman is probably not the best man to upset as he is chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations meaning he may have before him both the Postal Service and Customs and Border Protection agency officials to answer for their tardiness. He told the press:

“The amount of work identified by the OIG to achieve 100% compliance by the Postal Service is unacceptable and I certainly plan to find out why that is the case. The Stop Act was passed in 2018, which gave the Postal Service, and Customs and Border Protection, two years to prepare for this deadline. The mandate of the Stop Act is clear, the Postal Service must refuse any package without AED starting at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2021.”

Electronic declarations are not exactly new, most of the major private parcel carriers have been using the technology for years but it appears that certain overseas postal authorities have simply not been made ready, and many home and abroad, are blaming the Customs and Border Protection agency for failing to issue regulations by October 2019 as was planned.

Hurricane Commerce, a specialist in cross-border eCommerce trade data and compliance technology, says the United States Postal Service (USPS) deadline leaves posts with a huge challenge to meet in just a few weeks. Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said:

“The USPS is under pressure to fully implement the Stop Act and posts have been informed that the quality threshold for valid advance electronic data on mail parcels is being raised to a whole new level from the start of next year. From January 1, posts will be expected without exception to provide complete and valid data on all inbound mail parcels into the US.

“As things stand that means several hundred million parcels are likely to be rejected and eventually returned to their origin. This kind of volume will not only create immense logistical challenges but will also have a serious impact on air cargo capacity.

“Refused parcels will be returned to their country of origin which, in turn, will lead to mail parcel blockages of tens of millions of items. This problem will be exacerbated by the huge reduction in the number of planes flying due to Covid-19. The cost implications are significant in terms of warehousing, storage and returns, while there is also the issue of customer dissatisfaction and the increase in carbon footprint.”

Brexit anybody?