The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has gained U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s accreditation for all GPA terminals to offload goods from boats prior to custom and border protection (CBP) clearance.
To be eligible for the Advanced Qualified Unlading Approval (AQUA) Lane benefit, ocean carriers must be enrolled in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism programme, be in good standing with CBP, and specify AQUA Lane status when transmitting their manifest to US Customs prior to arriving in a US port.
While vessels must still acquire Customs clearance, AQUA Lane allows port operations to begin immediately with unloading and loading goods – even while the clearance procedure is in progress.
Crewmembers will still need to wait for usual CBP clearance before disembarking.
GPA Chief Operating Officer, Ed McCarthy, said: “GPA works closely with our customers and our CBP partners to find ways to safely improve supply chain flow and reduce port costs for customers.
“Ocean carriers calling our facilities are looking for ways to make their port stay more productive and improve their end-to-end supply chain service for customers, AQUA Lane brings more certainty to supply chain velocity with faster cargo operations on inbound vessels.”
In the past, vessels would have to wait for US Customs to clear cargo and crew prior to the start of cargo operations.
The duration of the clearance process is unpredictable – which often results in port labor waiting dockside to start operations.
“AQUA Lane is an important step that benefits the entire supply chain and reduces time and cost,” added McCarthy.