The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted movements and bonded storage of imported and exported merchandise including Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) activity. Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 18.1(i), the in-transit timeframe for in-bond CBPF 7512 movements is thirty (30) days (sixty (60) days for barge movements and there is no time limit for pipelines). In-bond merchandise must be entered, exported, or admitted into an FTZ within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of arrival of the entire in-bond shipment per 19 C.F.R. § 18.1(k). Otherwise, the in-bond merchandise will become subject to General Order (G.O.) requirements.
In-port bonded movements may remain in the custody of the party on the Customs-authorized permit to transfer (PTT) for fifteen (15) calendar days after receipt under such permit or 15 days after arrival at the port of destination, whichever is later. No later than twenty (20) calendar days after receipt under the PTT or arrival under bond at the port of destination, the party must notify Customs of any such merchandise for which entry or FTZ admission has not been made. Note that filing the PTT does not start the 15-day clock, rather that timeclock begins to run with vessel arrival. Arrival of the PTT at the FTZ does not stop or impact that clock.
With air, sea, rail, and truck capacity issues and overflowing warehouses, a number of FTZ clients have experienced difficulties managing in-bond movements and avoiding liquidated damages and G.O. consequences. Depending on the circumstances, there are a number of potential solutions. It may be possible to request extensions at local CBP ports of in-transit 30-day time limits or the 15-day arrival timeframe on an individual in-bond entry basis. With appropriate permissions, merchandise may be held in “constructive G.O.” without movement to a G.O. warehouse. A second in-bond transaction might be initiated where possible. It is also possible to work with your local CBP office to determine if the shipment is “eligible for GO” or “Ordered to GO and assigned a number” status, and you can potentially avoid G.O altogether. It may be possible for the local CBP office not to enforce the G.O. if goods currently sit in a bonded facility. It is important for all clients, including FTZ clients, to take proactive steps to monitor in-bond movements and to work with your local CBP office to avoid unnecessary additional expense, delays, or noncompliance with FTZ regulations.