U.S. CUSTOMS PLANS TO KEEP NCAP OPERATIONAL
Although funding for its future umbrella system is at least a year away,
U.S. Customs says it will find a way to keep a prototype of this future
The system, called the National Customs Automation Program or NCAP, offers
industry a glimpse of how Customs’ Automated Commercial Environment will operate. The
agency has been testing NCAP at the land-border ports of Laredo, Texas, Detroit and Port
Huron, Mich., for about a year.
The system allows certain high-volume, low-risk shipments to essentially be
pre-cleared through Customs before reaching the border. Five importers participate in
NCAP: General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Robert Bosch and Delphi Automotive Systems.
Customs recently decided to move NCAP from a system that relies on barcodes
to transponders. The agency said transponders would provide paper-free review of shipment
data in its systems.
The participants are hopeful that NCAP will eventually allow summary
filings, periodic payments and reconciliation of duties.
Earlier this year, Congress released $3.4 million to Customs to keep
NCAP operating through the rest of the year. There’s about $1 million left.
Participants in NCAP are concerned that the system will be shelved when the
money runs out. "If NCAP is allowed to go down, that would certainly kill any
incentives for us to participate in any future Customs projects," said Tim Hawks,
manager of U.S. Customs operations for DaimlerChrysler.