U.S. Customs is transitioning this year to a new computer system for handling Customs releases. This past weekend, they made one of their larger transitions on the air cargo side. Suffice to say, the transition has not gone smoothly. At the beginning of the week, airline warehouses that are connected with U.S. Customs stopped receiving Customs release messages. Shipments that were cleared and released by Customs required documents to be formally sent over to Customs offices (via email or fax) for signature and then presented to the airline warehouse to get a release. Depending on the airport, this process is taking from one to three days to complete.
As of the end of Friday, we are seeing Customs begin to resolve the various issues that were causing airlines not to receive the Customs release messages. The situation has slowly gotten better. However we are still encountering problems.
We ask that importers be aware of the potential for Customs release delays pertaining to their air shipments during this time while we wait for Customs to fix the problems.
t: 650-873-9050 x1019