10.05.17


Regulatory Headaches For American Distributors

Just like any other food or beverage crossing borderlines, imported wine is subject to an immense amount of bureaucratic red tape. For instance, the US Customs and Border Protection’s Importer Security Filing used to be fairly relaxed, only requiring that shippers file information with Customs when the inbound cargo was a little under a week away from its intended destination. Today, the American federal government needs to know what’s in each container before it even enters the container yard in its country of origin — and to add another layer of complexity, container weight restrictions can vary locally.

"If shippers don't provide data on all the products' sizes, marks, label registrations, proofs, gallons, and alcohol content, they can't even make a reservation to put the goods on the boat," explains Ward Chaplin, Senior Director of Supply Chain at Southern Wine & Spirits of America.

Fortunately, the federal government recognizes the inconveniences posed by many regulatory practices, and have addressed them in the form of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. This initiative is voluntary, and participating shippers are asked to conform to rigid security protocols and audits in exchange for undergoing fewer security screenings overall. Because some security screenings can cause delays of up to four days, participation in C-TPAT can produce significant supply chain savings.


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