A month from today, the USPS will require parcel shippers to submit their detailed export commodity data electronically. As you may know, up until now this data has been entered manually on USPS Forms 2976 and 2976A. The USPS has scrambled since last fall to make the necessary internal changes to their systems so that they could comply with Federal interagency mandates to provide this data electronically.
Now major shipping software companies and organizations that ship high volumes of parcel also need to update their systems or find alternative carriers for their international parcel volume. Many high-volume shippers have found themselves without readily available data and therefore been forced to implement significant changes to their internal systems to be in compliance with the new requirements. We have been working closely with some large organizations who utilize the USPS for international shipments to help them identify the data required for their shipping applications. This first step will help prepare them for the software versions which will facilitate the electronic transmission of this data.
The regulatory agencies mandating these changes include the US Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, US Commerce Department, Bureau of Industry and Security and the US Census Bureau.
These and many other export regulatory compliance challenges over the past few years have significantly increased the adoption of automated screening of denied parties and commodity license determination. A survey of parcel shippers last year confirmed an increased use of these pre-screening processes during order processing and fulfillment to avoid both hefty penalties and shipment delays by customs.
Do regulatory agencies make things easier or more complicated in the end? Not sure — but it sure keeps us on our toes.