Commercial Cargo Regulations

Commercial Cargo Regulations

Disclaimer: Below are excerpts copied from a January 2001 report entitled “State Functions at the Texas-Mexico Border and Cross-Border Transportation,” published by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts at Alliance River Crossing and Rhodes Enterprises, Inc. disclaim liability or responsibility to any person for direct or indirect loss or damage that may result from any act or omission by any person in relation to the information provided below.

Commercial Cargo, Drug Interdiction and Vehicle Safety Inspection Functions at Ports of Entry

The commercial regulation and law enforcement functions at the ports of entry involve inspection of commercial cargo and commercial vehicles and drivers for compliance with federal and state laws. The federal and state agencies at the ports of entry have three primary functions: commercial cargo processing, drug interdiction, and commercial vehicle and driver safety.

Commercial Cargo Processing Function

The U.S. Customs Service has large automated systems to support its commercial, enforcement, administration, and other functions. The Automated Commercial System (ACS) is an automated information system that tracks, controls and processes all goods imported into the United States.ACS, which became operational in 1984, contains several processing modules:


  • Automated Broker Interface-communications link
  • Automated Manifest System-merchandise inventory control and cargo release notification sytem
  • Cargo Selectivity System-Enforcement tool
  • Collections System-Billing and Accounting system
  • Entry Summary Selectivity System-Automated review of entry summary data
  • Quota System-Controls quota levels of imported merchandise

Drug Interdiction Function

The U.S. Customs Service’s passenger, cargo and vehicle inspection functions include detecting, interdicting and investigating illegally entering narcotics, drugs and contraband and enforcing of U.S. laws governing international movement of goods. These functions are carried out directly by Customs and INS in the primary and secondary inspection phases. The Customs Service uses dogs, x-ray machines, wands, scanners and the inspectors’ judgment to determine if more intensive inspections are necessary.

Commercial Vehicle Inspection Function

State agency activities affecting commercial traffic are directed at ensuring compliance with laws and standards regarding drugs, transportation of hazardous waste, and commercial vehicle and driver safety. The key state inspection agency at the international bridges is the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Because the state of Texas has adopted the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, all commercial vehicles entering the U.S. from Mexico must comply with these regulations.


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