The US Customs Service has implemented a new in-bond management system in Laredo, Texas, that will reduce the time needed to clear trucks into the United States.
The system, Customs Automated Forms Entry System (CAFES), uses a redesigned in-bond form with a two-dimensional barcode (PDF-417). This type of barcode software, which is available free of charge, will be able to store larger amounts of data than traditional vertical-lined barcodes used for land-border clearance. Moreover, the new system will allow customs brokers to transmit the 2-D barcode information via e-mail to Mexican or Canadian commercial parties to produce the in-bond documents.
Truck drivers will carry these forms as they transport their shipments to the border. Customs inspectors then scan the barcoded documents to verify the shipments with information in the agency's system. The scanning process is expected to take three to eight seconds.
On May 16, Customs will implement a 60 day trial period of CAFES on the northern border at Port Huron, Michigan. Customs will expand it to other ports along the land borders, and later to any area with high levels of in-bond traffic.