PAPS barcode misuse causing delays: Livingston

WASHINGTON — Along with a sharp increase in Pre-arrival Processing System (PAPS) usage resulting from U.S. Customs’ Advance Electronic Cargo Information program, there’s also been a rise in misuse of PAPS barcodes, reports customs brokerage firm Livingston International.

According to Livingston, many carriers continue to mistakenly apply a single PAPS barcode to cover multiple, individual shipments for a single U.S. importer.

PAPS mistakes are hampering Customs’ ability
to match shipment data with manifest info

“Given the tight timeframes under which some ground shipments must be processed prior to arrival, this practice forces the customs broker to combine multiple invoices into a single or consolidated Customs entry — even though that was not the intention of the importer or responsible party,” the company warns on its website.

Additionally, it adds this practice is generally non-compliant with published Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Prior Notice guidelines and U.S. Custom’s consolidated entry processing guidelines.

Consequently, consolidated U.S. entry summary information may unintentionally limit or negate Customs’ ability to match shipment specific data provided by the broker with manifest data provided by the carrier. Any such limitation could result in future shipment delays or refused entry.

It also hampers an importer’s ability to track/manage individual shipment entry/entry summary status, says Livingston, as well as a customs broker’s ability to utilize its resources effectively to process shipments timely.

To address this issue, depending on the carriers’ expected time of arrival at the border, Livingston is advising the carrier or exporter that they must assign individual PAPS barcodes to each invoice or provide a consolidated invoice covering all individual invoices and/or assess its agreed entry fee on a ‘per invoice’ basis as opposed to ‘per entry’ in order to cover the additional labor required to process a consolidated entry without benefit of a complete, consolidated invoice and within the required AECI timeframes.

For more information, contact the U.S. Brokerage Client Service department by phone at 800/437-4324 or by e-mail at

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