Parcel delivery backlog looming if shippers ignore upcoming US data requirements

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According to Hurricane Commerce, a specialist in cross-border trade data and compliance technology, hundreds of millions of parcels destined for the USA will be rejected when the requirement for a higher threshold of advance electronic data comes into force on January 1, 2021.

The company states that posts have had it confirmed that as of that date, any parcels arriving in the USA with incorrect or incomplete data will be refused and returned to origin. The United States Postal Service (USPS) deadline leaves posts with a huge challenge to overcome in just a few weeks, and marks the latest step in the enforcement of the US STOP Act, the intention of which is to crack down on the importation of illicit opioids into the country.

Martyn Noble (pictured), CEO of Hurricane Commerce, explained, “The USPS is under pressure to fully implement the STOP Act and posts have been informed that the quality threshold for valid advance electronic data on mail parcels is being raised to a whole new level from the start of next year.

“From January 1, posts will be expected, without exception, to provide complete and valid data on all inbound mail parcels into the US. As things stand, that means several hundred million parcels are likely to be rejected and eventually returned to their origin. This kind of volume will not only create immense logistical challenges but will also have a serious impact on air cargo capacity.”

Refused parcels will be returned to their country of origin which, says Noble, will lead to mail parcel blockages of tens of millions of items. “This problem will be exacerbated by the huge reduction in the number of planes flying due to Covid-19,” he adds. “The cost implications are significant in terms of warehousing, storage and returns, while there is also the issue of customer dissatisfaction and the increase in carbon footprint.”

Earlier this year, Hurricane Commerce launched its Zephyr data enhancement product, which allows bulk clearance facilities to check the accuracy of data including product descriptions and HS6 codes, and receive additional pertinent or missing information all under a single quick-check function.

According to the company, Zephyr can process more than 700 million requests a day and can, on an item-by-item API call basis, provide for real-time feedback with response times of 100 milliseconds. Screening of a file consisting of a maximum of 10,000 items takes no more than 15 minutes.

David Spottiswood, a co-founder of Hurricane Commerce, highlights, “The USPS deadline is real and is just a few weeks away from being rigorously enforced. Our Zephyr solution has been created specifically to meet this challenge and can be activated and delivering enhanced data quickly. We know from customer results that Zephyr enables posts to achieve the required data quality threshold. Posts that are able to meet the rigorous higher standards being set by the USPS are likely to gain a competitive edge in the world of cross-border trade.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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