Customs Sets Schedule for Oral Presentations

Customs Sets Schedule for Oral Presentations

The teams chasing the $2 billion Customs Modernization contract will make oral presentations at the agency between Feb. 26 and March 9, according to a procurement schedule released this week by the Customs Service.

The Customs Service is using a fast-track approval process that emphasizes oral presentations for technical and management proposals, rather than written documents.

The bidders do have to submit written responses to the request for proposals by Feb. 5. The oral presentations that follow will use an interview approach with an intensive question-and-answer session, according to the Customs Service, an agency of the Treasury Department.

The RFP was released Dec. 22, 2000, the day after Congress authorized $130 million to get the project off the ground. The 15-year contract is expected to be awarded April 25.

One prime contractor will be chosen for the 15-year contract. Teams are being led by Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, IBM Corp. of Armonk, N.Y., and Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va.

The Customs Modernization project is one of a few large, agencywide modernization efforts under way. The Customs Service wants to modernize and improve the systems it uses to monitor imports and exports.

Some of the computer systems in use are up to 17 years old and prone to brownouts, which shut or slow down trade. Because the volume of international trade is growing so quickly, new and improved systems are critical to keep pace, industry and government officials said.

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