Air cargo industry will have until October to test submission of required data elements

The movement of data has become almost as important as the movement of cargo. Without timely and accurate information on goods being transported, the supply chain can be delayed or disrupted.  This has never been more evident than with the new cargo security initiatives that have been starting all over the world.

An example of the importance of timely and accurate data and collaboration is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration’s Air Cargo Advanced Screening (ACAS) pilot launched last year. The pilot has allowed the two agencies to collaborate with the industry to determine the most effective and efficient way to comply with the regulation without slowing the movement of freight. A recent announcement in the Federal Register has extended the ACAS pilot through October 26, 2013 (Ref. Federal Registry Doc No: 2013-09516). This means that participants from the air cargo industry will have more time to test submission of the required data elements, develop internal operational plans that incorporate ACAS filing procedures, and ultimately help refine their processes to adhere to the regulation. This extension is strategic in that it will allow more industry partners to consult with service providers, such as Descartes, to submit the required information. 

What makes ACAS different than some other air industry filing requirements is that (1) a submission is required prior to cargo loading; and (2) that the information provided includes house bill level details.  This means that forwarders, in addition to carriers, play a vital role in compliance with this regulation. While the pilot is still underway, results from the pilot have shown the following benefits – reduced costs for carrier filings and service fees, faster clearances, greater visibility and control of shipments in the supply chain, and risk-based targeting earlier in the supply chain which does not interrupt the flow of commerce.

As you evaluate your participation in ACAS you should consider the availability of your data, your electronic messaging capabilities, and how you will work with your overseas agents in the pilot. Descartes has compiled a detailed ACAS Resource Center to help both forwarders and carriers stay current with the emerging filing requirements, the latest implementation and testing timelines and more. We encourage you to bookmark the location and to check back frequently for updates.

We encourage all stakeholders to get involved in the ACAS process. The impact of data accuracy, timeliness and collaboration when making changes to your supply chain can be as important as the handling of the goods to ensure an efficient and reliable supply chain. Please also ask us questions in the comment section at the bottom of the page or email us at

Written by Scott Sangster

Vice President, Global Logistics Network at Descartes