NCBFAA Comments On New TSA

Ed Greenberg
Phone: (202) 342-5277

Tom Mathers
Phone: (202) 466-0222
For Immediate Release

Washington, DCThe National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc., (NCBFAA) Air Forwarding Subcommittee today submitted comments in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) initiated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In its comments, the NCBFAA generally supported the NPRM believing that it will enhance the security of the supply chain if properly implemented. To that end the NCBFAA’s comments offered a number of recommendations, several of which are highlighted below.
        First, the NCBFAA urged that TSA work with the members of the trade in establishing a phased-in compliance period with the new regulations. Citing the experience with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Food and Drug Administration with respect to the Trade and Bio-Terrorism Acts, the Association pointed out that:

  • TSA would need to educate its own personnel, and not just air forwarders and the various underlying contractors, as to the new requirements.
  • The new rules would require the development of new systems and training.
  • This could not reasonably be accomplished in the anticipated 90-day period following publication of any final rules.



       Second, the NCBFAA urged TSA to establish a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on its website to address common issues that arise from time-to-time. In addition to providing information to forwarders, this would also help promote a uniform interpretation of the requirements by TSA itself.
        Third, in recognition that the proposed rules would codify the "known shipper" concept, the NCBFAA raised a number of questions and suggestions relating to the procedures TSA proposes to follow.
        Fourth, the NCBFAA specifically expressed its concerns that the NPRM literally proposed that IACs would be "held accountable for securing the goods entrusted to them throughout [the] legs of the supply chain for which they are responsible." The Association noted that air forwarders often did not have control of the cargo moving under their House Air Waybills (HAWBs) and that it would be inappropriate for TSA to automatically penalize forwarders for conduct over which they had no realistic control. 
        As a compromise, the NCBFAA suggested an approach like the one CBP took with the 24-hour and its effect on NVOCCs. In that instance, CBP recognized that NVOCCs realistically did not have control of cargo once it was tendered to the steamship lines, and developed the so-called "Special Bill" procedure that returned responsibilities for 24-hour rule compliance to the steamship line and their subcontractors. TSA was requested to recognize the operational realities of air transportation and mete out any penalties to the party in control of the cargo and the violation.
        Fifth, the Association provided suggestions to alleviate the burden on forwarders created by a number of specific requirements concerning employees of air forwarders, while still accomplishing the legitimate goals of the new rules.
        With headquarters in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA ( represents nearly 800 member companies - the nation's leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs), NVOCCs and air cargo agents, as well as the importers and exporters they represent. Established in 1897 in New York, NCBFAA is the effective national voice of the industry. Through its various committees, counsel and representatives, the Association maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect its members. It keeps them informed of these and other related issues through its weekly Monday Morning eBriefingNCBFAA Quarterly Bulletin, and various meetings and conferences throughout the year.

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