CIFFA recommended in this morning’s e-Bulleting that forwarders should stop filing eHBL on back-to-back shipments,  to avoid the risk that the goods will be delivered up to a trucker prior to customs release:

Members have advised that the terminals (for example, CN) update their systems from the automatic EDI D4 Deconsolidation Notice — or from the validated paper, as per CN16-20, as “Released” or “Re-manifested to MGF.” Drivers are proceeding to pick up and deliver containers to the importer that are NOT ACQUITTED, unless the forwarder can catch and stop them.

So far, two forwarders have reported containers picked up from a CN terminal by the importer BEFORE the goods were customs released, both last week. Both forwarders thought they had a manual control in place — but the controls were not effective. This is a huge liability to the freight forwarder, as the responsibility for duty and taxes lies with the 8000 CCN.

If you have containers that are already inbound on an eHBL filing, be vigilant. It is possible that the EDI D4 Notice will go automatically to the primary terminal and the container can easily be picked up and delivered without proper customs clearance. The forwarder is on the hook for duties, taxes and AMPs.

The only way we know of at this time to keep some control is NOT to issue the pick-up number to the importer / trucker until AFTER the goods have been customs released and you have the acquittal. That, of course, only works at terminal where there is a pick-up order system in place.