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What is a VACIS Exam ?

VACIS is a big x-ray machine that looks inside the container without ever having to open the door. Customs selects arriving containers to inspect at random — we have no control over this. If the container fails VACIS, Customs inspectors will open the container and verify its contents. If your freight is selected for inspection, we’ll keep you updated on ETA and exam charges.

USDA? Aren't those the guys who inspect beef?

They also have a few more jobs, including protecting American agriculture from foreign pests. This division is know as APHIS ( Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service ). They may choose to inspect your cargo–or sometimes they will just ask for more detailed documents detailing the nature of a shipment.

What is the harbor maintenance fee? How is it used?

The U.S. Customs Service is authorized by the Water Resources Act of 1986 to assess a harbor maintenance fee on the value of commercial cargo loaded on or unloaded from a commercial vessel at ports covered by the Act. Proceeds of the harbor maintenance fee are made available to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the improvement and maintenance of U.S. ports and harbors.
The fee is paid by importers and exporters of cargoes and is based on .0125 percent of the value of the cargo. For information on the harbor maintenance fee call the U.S. Customs Service at 202-927-0540

What is Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)?

C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognizes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. Through this initiative, CBP is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within the supply chain.

What is PierPASS or a Traffic Mitigation Fee ?

What is PierPASS? PierPASS is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, security and air quality. What fees are charged? PierPASS assesses a TMF (“Traffic Mitigation Fee”) on all loaded containers entering or exiting the marine terminal gates by road during peak hours.


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