By now, the Department of Homeland Security knows exactly what to expect. Every time its Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) introduces new security regulations or procedures that call for examining shipments at U.S. borders, the shipping community reacts with howls of protest. The rules are burdensome, the complaints go, and they'll choke off the flow of commerce. In the interests of keeping the peace, the CBP is forming a committee of shipping industry experts to advise it on border policies that affect commercial operations.
In other border-crossing news, beginning this month trucks crossing into the United States from Canada and Mexico must file electronic manifests with the CBP. The cargo manifests must be delivered to the CBP at least an hour before the truck arrives at the border. (For trucking companies that participate in the Free and Secure Trade—or FAST—program, the deadline is 30 minutes before the truck reaches the border.) Once CBP agents receive the electronic manifests, they can check them against shipping data collected on the companies over the past several decades, law enforcement databases and terrorist watch lists.