Poor Planning and understaffing at the USDA is causing a MAJOR Headache for Pineapple Industry among other Perishable commodity Importers at the Port of Los Angeles, California
Under 19 USC 1467, CBP has a right to examine any shipment imported into the United States and it is important to know that you, the importer, must bear the cost of such cargo exams. Per the CBP regulations, it is the responsibility of the importer to make the goods available for examination -- "The importer shall bear any expense involved in preparing the merchandise for CBP examination and in the closing of packages" (19 CFR 151.6).
Household effects are not exempt. No distinction is made between commercial and personal shipments.
In the course of normal operations, CBP does not charge for cargo examinations.
However, there may still be costs involved for the importer. For example, if your shipment is selected for examination, it will generally be moved to a Centralized Examination Station (CES) for the CBP exam to take place.
A CES is a privately operated facility, not in the charge of a CBP Officer, at which merchandise is made available to CBP officers for physical examination. The CES facility will unload (devan) your shipment from its shipping container and will reload it after the exam.
The CES will bill you for their services. There are also costs associated with moving the cargo to and from the exam site and with storage. Rates will vary across the country and a complete devanning may cost several hundred dollars.
The CES concept fulfills the needs of both CBP and the importer by providing an efficient means to conduct exams in a timely manner.
CESs are discussed in part 118 of the Code of Federal Regulations and are available for viewing by clicking here.
Note: Most of Exam & Exam-delays can be linked to missing/incomplete/misleading consignee/manufacturer information, also, missing/incomplete/misleading country of origin, poor item description (materials that is made out of ), unrealistic values, missing Fabric/Textile (ie: cotton%, woven% & etc.) detail sheets & etc.
** A back log of containers into the Port of LA are being held for Vacis Exam (X-Ray) by the USDA.
** Containers arrive at the port and unloaded from the vessel and are being targeted for these exams.
Containers need to be drayed from the port to these exam areas at a cost to importers both to the offsite location for the X-RAY exam (VACIS) and back to the port.
USDA may either conduct a Tail Gate Exam or an Intensive Exam.
VACIS method of inspection is also carried out through X- ray gamma rays to conduct USDA exam under import of goods in US import clearance.
Because of the back log of containers perishable containers are sitting at the port for days and weeks basically destroying the contents inside. Losing any possible shelf life when the product is finally released.
In this process, containers of Pineapples among other Perishable commodities sat in the back log and basically fell through the cracks waiting over two Weeks for the exam to be performed.
Containers have been held up as much as 25 days and when they are finally released to the importers product is so full of mold and unsaleable that complete loads are being dumped due to sanitation and fod safety issues.
All the while waiting for release; Importers are incurring multiple additional charges for the demurrage.
** Including moving the containers out of the yards and because of the excessive delays, Importers are being burdened with dumping fee costs that are being passed along as well.
The International Pineapple Organization (IPO) has been asked to step in to this issue to lobby on behalf of the Pineapple Industry.
Calls are being placed to elected Officials as well as various Departments of Commerce, USDA/APHIS in Washington, D.C.
IPO Executive Director Will Cavan expressed that "the negligent behaviour on the Part of USDA & DHS is unacceptable and a prompt solution to this injurious scenario must be corrected immediately".
Cavan went on to say that:"This dysfunctional situation at Port of Entry begs the question if the U.S. Government DHS & USDA have any idea as to what they are doing".
"Such actions are detrimental to fair and free trade and destructive to the bottom line."
"At this juncture, injured Importers have no recourse other than to file a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Government for damages" Cavan added.