INDUSTRY PREPARES FOR ITDS PILOT IN BUFFALO
After three months of testing, the U.S. government is prepared to launch a pilot of the International Trade Data System on Aug. 27 at the land-border port of Buffalo, N.Y.
“End-to-end” testing of the system, a proposed automated link to government agencies involved in international trade, began in July with Roadway Express, an Akron, Ohio-based trucking firm, and Tower Group International, a Buffalo-based customs broker.
Roadway and Tower executives said they’re ready to take ITDS to the pilot phase. “We’re going to continue with this pilot,” said Thompson W. Anastasi, vice president of border operations for Tower. “We want to test this technology.”
At a meeting in Buffalo last week, other brokers in the area expressed their interest in participating in the pilot: A.N. Deringer, Great Lakes, Livingston, PBB Global Logistics, and Buffalo Customshouse Brokerage. Another meeting will be held in Buffalo on Aug. 29 to drum up more broker and carrier support for the ITDS pilot.
ITDS has suffered from years of political and agency debate and industry skepticism. The system promises to provide international shipment transaction data electronically to government agencies that require it.
There have also been concerns that the ITDS pilot would soon fold due to insufficient industry participation and to the Food and Drug Administration’s failure to commit 24-hour staffing to support the pilot.
Industry participation, however, is expected to increase in the next several weeks, and the FDA has agreed to commit 24-hour staffing for a 30-day period once the pilot is fully operational.