The recent overhaul of NAFTA has paved the way for more eCommerce shipments to enter the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Higher volumes of low-value shipments means changes for importers and businesses in terms of managing inventory, transport arrangements, and customs compliance. New challenges as well as opportunities abound, and governments are deploying new systems and processes to facilitate the flow of trade while enhancing national security. For many businesses, a major concern is speeding up processes. Read on to learn more about the steps for faster eCommerce clearance with GeTS Managed Services.
Many small and midsize businesses have turned to third party providers like Global eTrade Services (GeTS) to take advantage of eCommerce opportunities while keeping costs down. Third party providers can automate the entire eManifest filing process for low-value shipments and provide a cheaper alternative to ECCF clearance for inbound air parcels.
In the U.S., Section 321 releases allows goods valued at $800 or less to enter the country duty and tax free and without a formal entry. Many importers use ECCFs to clear Section 321 shipments at two major airports, JFK (New York) and LAX (Los Angeles). ECCF clearance is fast and efficient, but importers are limited to only a few airports and fixed rates.
ECCF Clearance Process for eCommerce Shipments
An Express Consignment Carrier Facility or EECF is a hub that processes inbound shipments and Section 321 parcels for clearance. Besides low-value shipments, ECCFs also process informal and formal entries, as well as regulated shipments requiring permits and certificates. All shipments valued at $801 to $2,500 are processed at ECCFs as informal entries, while shipments valued at more $2,500 are processed as formal entries.
Most shipments cleared at ECCFs are low-value and qualify as a Section 321 release. Multiple parcels can thus be submitted under consolidated air eManifests via ACE Air. Section 321 parcels are usually cleared at ECCFs before arrival and available right away for domestic delivery via parcel post or low-cost USPS. ECCF clearance costs about $1.07 per parcel. ECCF processing combined with domestic postal delivery is a very affordable option for importers and eCommerce companies to clear large volumes of low-value shipments.
Section 321 Shipments and Type 86
Section 321 is a type of informal entry that allows goods valued at $800 or less to enter the United States free of duty and tax. To be eligible for Section 321 clearance, the shipment should not be one of several shipments covered by a single contract and should not exceed the $800 value on a single day.
Businesses importing Section 321 shipments need to submit an eManifest to CBP in the release on manifest process. ACE currently supports Section 321 truck and air shipments, but the new Type 86 release extends coverage to low-value shipments in all modes of transport, including those regulated by Participating Government Agencies (PGAs).
The Section 321 Type 86 release further simplifies the clearance process for low-value shipments, expediting processing and last mile delivery for businesses. Type 86 is an informal entry that applies even to shipments regulated by agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture. For importers, this means faster release of low-value items like cosmetics and other regulated products.
Type 86 release is fully electronic and significantly improves visibility and tracking of Section 321 imports. CBP and other government agencies can better identify shipments that violate rules while expediting the release of compliant parcels.
eManifests and Air Waybills
Section 321 shipments to be cleared at an ECCF must be separate on the eManifest from shipments valued at over $800 if an eManifest is used as the entry document. Section 321 shipments with an eManifest do not need the HTSUS subheading number or entry summary.
It is the responsibility of the importer or their authorized representative (licensed customs broker) to enter shipments to be cleared at an ECCF. All CBP requirements must be met and the required information provided. The broker or entry filer may also submit a copy of the commercial invoice or the eManifest (prepared by the carrier) instead of control documents.
The air manifest contains details about the cargo and conveyance, while the air waybill serves as the contract of carriage between the airline and the freight forwarder. Carriers must transmit the eManifest to CBP via ACE at least four hours before arrival. The carrier must submit the electronic air waybill (eAWB) to CBP for non-consolidated shipments and master air waybill data for consolidated shipments, in addition to all associated house air waybills, unless another party submits the information to CBP.
The AMS Air platform has transitioned to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and is now called ACE Air. ACE Air severs as cargo notification and manifest release system for air carriers, freight forwarders, and other trade participants. ACE Air support eManifest preparation and submission and allows traders to move cargo before it arrives at the port of entry. Unlike paper processing, ACE Air is fast, reliable, and improves targeting for CBP officials.
Customs Clearance for eCommerce Shipments: ECCF vs CFS
A cheaper alternative to ECCF clearance for high volume Section 321 shipments is clearance through Container Freight Stations (CFS). Parcels cleared through CFS are not charged an express fee, although clearance may take up to 4 days. The slower timeline is often due to processes that are not fully automated. In addition, a CFS usually does not process shipments during weekends and delays are unavoidable during holidays and peak seasons.
ECCF and CFS clearance are both great options for clearing high volume parcels. Ultimately, the ideal solution depends on your business needs and the needs of your customers. A combination of both can get time-sensitive parcels to customers fast while keeping costs down for regular shipments.
Accelerate eCommerce Clearance with Managed Services from GeTS
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a leading provider of advanced global trade facilitation solutions. Based on the software-as-a-service model, GeTS solutions aim to streamline processing and optimize customs compliance for trade participants.
GeTS’ eCommerce Managed Services is designed to help importers, exporters and customs brokers expedite customs processing for Section 321 or low-value shipments in the air mode of transport.
Businesses can automate the entire clearance process for low-value Section 321 shipments and deliver parcels to customers more quickly and cost-effectively. Choose from four major U.S. airports instead of two to clear your air parcels and waive the $1 fee per house bill of lading.
Why Choose GeTS eCommerce Managed Services
GeTS eCommerce Managed Services provides an alternative to ECCF clearance for low-value shipments. It also gives importers additional airport choices and price options.
More airport clearance options than any other ECCF. GeTS eCommerce Managed Services connects importers to more airports than any other ECCF. More ports mean greater flexibility with pricing and rates.
Zero customs fees per HBL. Because GeTS eCommerce Managed Services is not a traditional ECCF, importers pay zero customs fees per HBL. Combined with more pricing options, importers can save more money.
Access to four ports in the U.S. Importers can clear air parcel shipments at four major airports in the country: JFK, LAX, MIA, and SFO.
24/7 customer support. Get expert assistance on Section 321 clearance and other customs compliance matters from our team of professionals anytime, anywhere.
Learn more by visiting our page on GeTS Managed Services or contact us today!
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