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TSA and CBP expand travel and cargo trial programs

In separate actions on Nov. 9, the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection expanded two of their respective programs to make travel and cargo shipping easier.

TSA announced that it would expand its Pre Check pilot program to three more airports: Los Angeles International (LAX), Las Vegas McCarran International (LAS), and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International (MSP). The trial, which uses voluntary passenger pre-screening, is already underway at Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Miami airports. The program is aimed at enhancing security by pre-screening passengers before they fly through a voluntary documentation process.

According to TSA, LAS will come on board in December for pilot participants traveling on both Delta and American Airlines. The LAX trial will begin in early 2012 for pilot participants traveling on American Airlines and MSP will come on board in early 2012 for pilot participants traveling on Delta Air Lines.

TSA said public support for the program “ has been overwhelmingly positive,” adding it has received over  600 comments so far with 99% of the comments being in support of the pilot program.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it plans to conduct a pilot program beginning in December aimed at smoothing entry for air cargo. The Simplified Entry Pilot would be part of the Simplified Processes trade initiative, said CBP, and will be open to the trade community.  The agency said it plans similar pilots in the ocean and rail environments in early to mid-2012.

“The Simplified Entry pilot expedites cargo release into the stream of commerce,” said CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin. “The trade industry and CBP will both realize significant efficiencies while enhancing security with more accurate information provided earlier in the import process.”

During the Simplified Entry Pilot, shippers will enter a simplified entry consisting of 13 data elements and 4 optional data elements, instead of the 27 currently required.  CBP said it coordinated  on the program with representatives from the National Retail Federation, National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, American Association of Exporters and Importers, Intelligent Transportation Society of America, and Business Alliance for Customs Modernization to streamline the cargo entry process.

CBP encouraged importers and brokers to participates, saying that  participants must have an ACE Portal Account and hold a Tier 2 status or higher in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. To be considered for the pilot, it said, applicants can submit an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Simplified Entry Participant Request” within five days of the federal register notice publication.


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