US Customs Issues Guidelines for West Coast Diversions

Please be advised that industry officials are warning of a potential significant disruption in the 30 West Coast ports  if dockworkers  go on strike after their contract expires Monday.

As Journal of Commerce reports, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued guidelines for ship and cargo contingency plans ahead of a possible West Coast trade disruption arising from the expiration of the longshore labor union contract.

The guidelines that were issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection will only be applicable in the event of a disruption.

Specifically, Customs has outlined procedures for filers when cargo is discharged in a foreign port, transshipped at a foreign port for delivery at the original destination port (e.g., via barge), diverted elsewhere on the U.S. West Coast, diverted to an East or Gulf Coast port, or held in a ship at anchor until it can be discharged at the original destination port.

Details on procedures.

The agency said it will publish notices on its Unified Business Resumption site when these interim procedures go into effect, and when the interim procedures are terminated and normal processing resumes. Impacted West Coast ports will designate a point of contact for trade inquiries about specific procedures for each port, and that information will be posted on the Unified Business Resumption site, too.

Customs will also transmit information through the Cargo System Messaging Service, which is an email subscription service that provides notification of new messages.

Please be guided accordingly. RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the development of the situation and report further updates once available.