CF initiated the step with the U.S. Customs Service and Norman G. Jensen Inc., a customs brokerage, to incorporate electronic data exchange into processes associated with the domestic movement and clearance of in-bond cargo.
Shipments entering the U.S. are placed "in-bond" when part of the required documents needed for entry and clearance are unavailable or when freight is moving directly from point of importation to another point of exportation. Typically, bonds are posted by a customs broker or
transportation provider so that freight can continue moving toward its domestic destination without delay. Under this process, brokers and carriers assume responsibility for fulfilling remaining customs requirements before freight is released to the consignee.
"The current system is paper ridden, labor intensive and involves a number of time-consuming steps for brokers, carriers and U.S. Customs," said Kent Jamison, CF's assistant director, customer service. "Delivery of cargo can be delayed by days or weeks while freight waits for
clearance." The automated in-bond network of U.S. Customs allows Consolidated Freightways, Norman Jensen, and Customs to share in-bond clearance documents electronically, in Internet-time.
Under the old system, a task as basic as notifying U.S. Customs of a shipment's arrival and securing delivery authorization requires carriers to prepare and hand deliver documentation to the nearest Customs office.
Since in-bond freight is usually cleared by Customs while in-transit, this paper-based step can delay delivery to the consignee by as many as four days. CF is incorporating automation of numerous clearance procedures including in-bond movement notifications, arrival notifications and Customs delivery authorizations. All Consolidated Freightways offices in the U.S. can alert Customs of an arrival and receive electronic delivery authorization. Norman Jensen, in turn,
receives instant notification when cargo is delivered and bonds closed.