Just a quick note to let you know that the Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC) data for all of 2012 will soon be available from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Headquarters.
As many of you know, the ITRAC data contains company-specific import data going back up to 5 years. It includes general entry information, such as tariff classifications, values, preferential tariff programs used, etc.; as well as information regarding CBP’ review of a company’s import shipments (e.g., whether a CF-28 or CF-29 was issued). It also identifies each of the links in the company’s international supply chain (i.e., foreign manufacturers, carriers, customs brokers and sureties). In short, the ITRAC data is a useful tool for monitoring the effectiveness of your import compliance program, identifying areas of potential cost and duty savings, and identifying links in the international supply chain for security purposes (i.e., C-TPAT-related information).
Given how useful the information is, the low cost of acquiring it (i.e., CBP generally charges ~$250 per request), the fact that it is still more reliable than ACE, and that CBP uses the same info in advance of their audits, we generally recommend that all companies request their ITRAC data at least once a year and incorporate its review into their compliance programs.
The downside to the data has always been the format in which CBP provides the data (basically, a data dump from their system in Microsoft Access format). Over the years, we have developed simple macros that can extract the most relevant data from the Microsoft Access tables and convert it to Excel for ease of use. We also have a developed a template report the summarizes the data so trends, issues and opportunities can be more easily identified.
If you’d like to see the template, or discuss requesting your ITRAC data from CBP HQ, please let us know.