Advance Manifest Rules (AMR)

US Customs & Border Protection

Electronic Manifest Filing

Supply Chain Security




1.            In response to the terrorist attacks in New York and Wash¬ington, DC on September 11, 2001, the U.S. government made substantive changes to the structure of numerous governmental agencies and enacted laws designed to better se¬cure the country against possible future terrorist attacks. The 200-plus year old U.S. Customs Service was renamed the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, (CBP) and was con¬solidated, along with a number of other existing government agencies into the new Department of Homeland Security (DMS). Importantly, the Trade Act of 2002 (section 343(a)) required that the CBP establish rules for the mandatory collection of electronic cargo information prior to the arrival of cargo in the United States (inbound cargo or imports) or its departure from the United States (outbound cargo or exports) by any mode of commercial transportation (sea, air, rail or truck). On December 5, 2003, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a notice (Final Rule) in the Federal Regis¬ter (68 FR 68140) announcing changes in the Customs Reg¬ulations to require the advance electronic presentation of information for cargo in all modes of transportation, both in¬bound and outbound.

The New Regulations (“Final Rule”)

2.            68 FR 68140 amends the Customs Regulations to provide that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must receive, by way of a CBP-approved electronic data in¬terchange system (EDI), information pertaining to cargo (manifest data) before the cargo is either brought into or sent from the United States by any mode of commercial transpor¬tation (sea, air, rail or truck).

3.            The cargo information required is that which is reasonably nec¬essary to enable high-risk shipments to be identified for pur¬poses of ensuring cargo safety and security and preventing smuggling pursuant to the laws enforced and administered by CBP. These regulations are specifically intended to effectuate the provisions of section 343(a) of the Trade Act of 2002, as amended by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of2002.

Who is Affected?

4.            Carriers and NVOCCs (non-vessel operating common carri¬ers) are directly affected by the new regulations. Both groups must comply by sending manifest data to CBP according to the regulations (details follow).

5.            Foreign exporters to the U.S., domestic exporters and im¬porters, and foreign importers of U.S. products are also af¬fected by these new regulations, because the bulk of the data forwarded to CBP by the carriers and NVOCCs originates from these groups. If transmittal of information is either in- complete, misleading or not timely, it can cause a number of potentially serious problems including:

6.            CBP may issue a “No Load” order to the carrier, effectively keeping the shipment at port and subjecting the shipment to storage charges and the importer and exporter to possible lost commercial opportunities.

7.            Having the shipment become the target of additional scrutiny by CBP and possibly subjecting it to intense cargo examinations.

8.            Potential denial or delays in obtaining permission to unlade the cargo at a U.S. port.

9.            Obviously, importers and exporters will need to work closely with their foreign counterparts, carriers, NVOCCs and logis¬tics firms to ensure compliance.

10.          It should be noted that these new regulations are for the pur¬pose of national security and that CBP is taking a very firm stance regarding compliance.

Inbound Transmission Times

11.         The regulations require that carriers send the required data to the CBP using the AMS (Automated Manifest System) and that the data be received by CBP according to the following timetable:


Inbound - Transmission Received by CBP in AMS


24 hours (before lading at foreign port) for non-bulk shipments

24 hours before arrival for bulk shipments


4 hours before “Wheels up” from NAFTA (Canada and Mexico) and Central and South America above the equator


2 hours before arrival in U.S.


1 hour before arrival for non-Free and Secure Trade (FAST) participants 30 minutes before arrival for FAST participants

12.          The time requirements for bulk and break-bulk carriers to submit their cargo declaration information to CBP in SEA AMS is as follows:

Cargo Declaration Data (CBP Form 1302) Including FROB

Type of Cargo


Time of Receipt by CBP in AMS



24 hours prior to loading

Break Bulk (non-exempt)


24 hours prior to loading

Bulk Cargo

Voyage more than 24 hours

24 hours prior to arrival

Bulk Cargo

Voyage less than 24 hours

Time of Sailing

Cargo Declaration Data (CBP Form 1302) Including FROB

Type of Cargo


Time of Receipt by CBP in AMS

Break Bulk Cargo (exempt)

Voyage more than 24 hours

24 hours prior to arrival

Break Bulk



Voyage less than 24 hours

Time of Sailing

13.          FROB = Foreign Remaining On Board Cargo The 24-hour period prior to loading begins from CBP receipt of information. The information is transmitted to CBP and must pass system edits and validations with a receipt mess sage back to the transmitter to be considered received.

Effective Dates

14.          The “Final Rule” became effective January 5, 2004. How ever, within the Final Rule there were various implementation dates for automated transmissions for each mode o transportation. Carriers and/or automated NVOCCs are required to submit an electronic cargo declaration to CBP for all vessels loading on or after March 4, 2004. Any vessel that began its voyage on or after March 4, 2004 must comply with the specified reporting timeframe. Those vessels that wars between foreign ports of call on March 4, 2004 were not required to comply with the electronic requirement for that voyage. The implemention dates were as follows:


Implementation Date


Beginning August 13, 2004 (See below)


Beginning July 12, 2004 (See below)


Beginning November 15, 2004 (See below)


Voyages Commencing March 4, 2004 or later

Air AMS Implementation Dates (69FR10151)

15.          The dates when air carriers were required to comply variec depending on the air carrier’s port of entry in the U.S. Air¬ports in the named states were required to automate data transmissions by the listed dates.

August 13,2004

16.          Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Is¬land, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia

October 13, 2004

17.          Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ken¬tucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Mis¬souri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin

December 13,2004

18.          Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah and Washington

Rail AMS Implementation Dates (69FR19207)

19.          The dates when rail carriers were required to comply varied de¬pending on the inbound rail cargo’s port of entry in the U.S. Listed are the implementation dates, CBP Ports, corresponding port codes and field office locations in parenthesis.


20.          Effective July 6, 2004 vessels required to make entry in ac¬cordance with Customs regulations at 19 CFR, Part 4 and scheduled to arrive at anchor or at a dock in any harbor within the Customs territory of the U.S. must comply with the Trade Act Regulations. There are no exceptions or waiv¬ers to the automation requirement for electronic transmission of cargo declaration data mandated by the Trade Act. The Port Director will deny permission to unlade cargo to vessel carriers that continue to arrive and present paper Inward Cargo Declarations (CBP Form 1302) to CBP in violation of the Trade Act Regulations. However, passenger vessels will be allowed to disembark passengers.

Bulk and Break Bulk Vessels

21.          As of April 2, 2004, the CBP started enforcement actions against carriers operating bulk and break bulk vessels that failed to comply with the Required Advance Electronic Pre¬sentation of Cargo Information. The enforcement actions in¬clude denial of preliminary entry, issuance of penalties at each port of arrival and denial of unlading. The CBP was aware of several bulk and break bulk carriers who because they were foreign entities, were unable to se¬cure the required Activity Code 3 International Carriers bond by the original automation deadline of March 4, 2004, and allowed a period of informed compliance which ended on April 2, 2004.

Passenger Vessels

22.          All passenger vessels that began a voyage on or after April 2, 2004 must transmit cargo declaration data electronically to CBP utilizing Sea AMS. CBP commenced enforcement ac¬tions on that date. The enforcement actions include denial of preliminary entry and issuance of penalties at each port of ar¬rival.

The Authorized Transmitting Party

23.          Generally, an authorized transmitting party is an entity ap¬proved by CBP to transmit cargo declaration data via the Automated Manifest System (AMS). However, authorized transmitting parties can include:

(a)          An NVOCC approved by CBP to transmit cargo declaration data via the Vessel Automated Manifest System.

(b)          An Automated Broker Interface (AB1) filer (importer or Customs broker as identified by its ABI filer code).

(c)           A Container Freight Station/ deconsolidator as identified by its FIRMS code.

(d)          An Express Consignment Carrier Facility as identified by its FIRMS code.

(e)          An importer or broker.

Automated Manifest System (AMS)

24.          All sea, air, and rail carriers are required to be Automated Manifest System (AMS) participants. Sea Carriers per 19 CFR 4.7(b)(2), Air Carriers per 19 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 122.48a(a), Rail Carriers per 19 CFR 123.91. NVOCCs are not required to automate, but may choose to become automated. The time frame given for NVOCCs to submit paper cargo declarations directly to CBP expired on February 2, 2003.

25.          There are several options for this segment of the trade to provide information in an automated format to CBP. These options are:

(a)          Utilize a service provider,

(b)          Utilize a port authority,

(c)           Establish a direct interface with CBP, or

(d)          Submit paper cargo declarations to the carrier for input into AMS for inclusion on the non-automated carriers cargo declaration.

26.          It should be noted that a direct interface with CBP requires a pe¬riod of lead-time and therefore, companies may want to use one of the other options until their direct interface is completed. Those companies electing to establish a direct interface must develop all the necessary records required by the module. In addition, those users electing to develop a direct interface or purchase a vendor’s software package must successfully complete a four-step test phase.

27.          Automated NVOCCs are afforded the same AMS features as an automated carrier, such as auto arrival of the vessel, electronic request for permit to transfers (PTT), Second No¬tify Party designation and participation in the Paperless Mas¬ter In-bond Program (AMS/MIB).

Vessel Agents

28.          The carrier may designate a vessel agent to enter data on be¬half of the carrier; however, the carrier is responsible for the content and timeliness of the data. The information may be transmitted directly to CBP or through a participating AMS service center or port authority.

Third-party AMS Service Providers

29.          A listing of third-party service providers for Sea can be found under the heading of Sea AMS Data Processing Ser¬vices on the following CBP web site: ImageCache/cgov/content/import/ operations 5fsupport/ams/sea_5fvendor_ 2edoc/v7/ sea 5fvendor.doc

30.          This document is in two parts: The first is a list of service centers, port authorities, and software vendors that presently have the capability to provide carriers and NVOCCs with an interface to CBP. The second is the Sea AMS Respondent Checklist that interested parties must complete. This one-page document should be completed and faxed to: (703) 650-3538. A CBP client representative will then be assigned to work with the company.

Responsibility for Inaccurate Data

31.          The party that provides cargo declaration information to CBP is responsible for ensuring that the information is accurate. If a shipment is examined by CBP, either in the United States or at a foreign port, and the manifest description of the con¬tents is, in CBP opinion, inaccurate, the carrier can be held lia¬ble for penalties. Authorized transmitting parties can be held liable for liquidated damages. As a result, carriers should es¬tablish good business relationships with shippers to ensure that accurate information is provided.

32.          CBP will initially use informed compliance with the carriers, but if repeated violations occur CBP may assess penalties or claims for liquidated damages.

33.          The final rule indicates that in addition to penalties applica¬ble under other provisions of law, carriers may be liable for civil penalties.

Paperless Master In-bond (AMS/MIB) Program

34.          To participate in the CBP Paperless Master In-bond Pro¬gram, the carrier or the authorized transmitting party must acquire a CBP Activity Code 2 - Custodial Bond. The autho-rized transmitting party will then prepare on their letterhead a request to participate in the program identifying their as¬signed Internal Revenue Service employer identification number (IRS#) and what in-bond entry types they would like to be designated to transmit. They may elect:

(a)          Immediate Transportation (IT- entry type 61),

(b)          Transportation and Exportation (T&E - entry type 62),

(c)           Immediate Exportation (IE - entry type 63) or all three.

35.          The letter should be provided to their CBP Client Represen¬tative for action. The IRS# will be validated against a bond table existing in the ACS (Automated Commercial System) and if valid, a “V#” (Validation Number) will be assigned to the carrier or NVOCC. The carrier or NVOCC will then cre¬ate a control number using the “V#” and the in-bond move¬ment will be tracked in AMS. The party initiating the paperless master in-bond move will then be responsible for the arrival/export of the movement in the system.

Public Lists of AMS Participants

36.          CBP has posted a list of AMS approved carriers who have obtained an International Carrier Bond on the CBP web site at: This document is continuously changing and cannot be con¬sidered 100 percent accurate.

Automated Manifest System Outline

37.          The CBP has an established process for NVOCCs and Carri¬ers in order to automate with CBP.

38.          Participants in the Automated Manifest System (AMS) are required to have a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) issued by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, located in Alexandria, VA. If they do not have a SCAC, information can be obtained from the web site: scac2.htm or the association can be called at (703) 838-1810. Once you have received the confirmation letter for your SCAC code from the Na¬tional Motor Freight Traffic Association, send or fax a copy of the letter to:

(a)          Mr. Charles Bennett, Branch Chief

(b)          CBP SCAC Processing

(c)           Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

(d)          7681 Boston Blvd.

(e)          Beauregard 1st Fl Wing A

(f)           Springfield, VA 22153

(g)          Fax: (703) 650-3650

39.          E-mail: AMS participants are also required to have a type 3 CBP In¬ternational Carriers Bond and a type 2 Custodial Bond if business practices involve creating in-bond shipments. Initial bond requirements were set at $50,000. However, Port Direc-tors may increase the bond amount at their discretion. If you do not have an International Carriers Bond or a Custodial Bond, contact a surety company from a list of Treasury ap¬proved surety companies that are listed at: c570/index.html/ to obtain a bond. Such bonds require that foreign entities have a CBP assigned number. Request for CBP Assigned numbers must be made on CF 5106 “Importer ID Input record”; the form can be found on the CBP web site: Completed forms should be sent to the Entry Branch of the local port for input into ACS. Upon receipt of a completed CF 5106, CBP will assign an “Importer Number” to a foreign-based entity. This CF 5106 can be completed by the foreign entity and submit¬ted to CBP, there is also a $50 processing fee (for type 2 Cus¬todial Bonds only) associated with this transaction. A copy of the form, with the CBP-assigned number indicated in block 2D, will be returned to the applicant. This CBP-assigned number will serve as the identifying number for the foreign entity on the bond application.

40.          Once these procedures are complete there are three basic ways for an NVOCC to participate in AMS:

(a)          Through a service center/port authority:

(b)          A service center/port authority can transmit the NVOCCs data to CBP. The NVOCCs data remain confidential from the operating carrier. This is the fastest way to start AMS participation.

(c)           Purchase a software and communications package from a software vendor:

(d)          The software vendor will set up required interface soft¬ware. The NVOCC will have to be certified in AMS prior to submitting actual manifest data.

(e)          Program their own software interface:

41.          This process requires a full AMS certification test be completed prior to submitting actual manifest data. Interested participants in the Sea Automated Manifest Sys¬tem (AMS) Program are required to submit a written letter of intention on company letterhead and include a point of con- tact, name, title, phone number, e-mail address and office lo¬cation. In addition, identify your interest in Sea AMS (i.e., becoming a Sea AMS carrier, service center, software ven¬dor, NVOCC, etc.). This letter can be mailed or faxed to the following location:

(a)          U.S. Customs and Border Protection

(b)          Office of Information and Technology

(c)           Director, Client Representative Branch

(d)          Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

(e)          7681 Boston Blvd.

(f)           Attention: Beauregard, Room A-31

(g)          Springfield, VA 22153

(h)          (703)650-3500

Confidentiality of Data

42.          Once a completed manifest is filed with the CBP it becomes public information. This can present a problem to importers and consignees who feel that public knowledge of their ship¬pers and/or suppliers can damage their commercial activities. Importers and consignees, however, may request confidential treatment of their name and address contained in inward mani-fests, including identifying marks and numbers. In addition, an importer or consignee may request confidential treatment of the name and address of the shipper or shippers to such im-porter or consignee by using the following procedures: An importer or consignee, or authorized employee, attorney or official of the importer or consignee, must submit a certifi¬cation claiming confidential treatment of its name and ad¬dress, including marks and numbers which reveal the name and address of the importer or consignee. An importer or consignee may also file a certification requesting confidenti¬ality for all its shippers.

43.          There is no prescribed format for a certification. However, the certification should include the importer’s or consignee’s Internal Revenue Service Employer Number, if available. There is no requirement to provide sufficient facts to support the conclusion that the disclosure of the names and addresses would likely cause substantial harm to the competitive posi¬tion of the importer or consignee. The certification must be submitted to:

(a)          Disclosure Law Officer

(b)          Headquarters

(c)           U.S. Customs and Border Protection

(d)          1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

44.          Washington, DC 20229 Each initial certification will be valid for a period of two years from the date of receipt. Renewal certifications should be sub¬mitted to the Disclosure Law Officer at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the current certification. Information so certi¬fied, may be copied, but not published, by the press during the effective period of the certification. An importer or consignee shall be given written notification by Customs of receipt of its certification of confidentiality.

45.          To ensure that requested information is deleted from public disclosure, the importer or consignee should ensure that the company’s name and shipper’s name is identified to Customs in all known variations that may be used on shipping docu¬mentation such as bills of lading, purchase orders and mani¬fests. The CBP’s computer searches for the exact spelling that is included on the request for confidentiality, and any variations of the company/commercial party name not speci¬fied in the confidentiality request may not be deleted from the public disclosures.

46.          Presently, it takes between 1 to 5 days from the rime of receipt of a request to the time the request is processed and placed into the system. Protection is effective once the information is placed into the system, and the requestor will be notified that this has been done. CBP processes requests on a daily basis.

General Issues

C-TPAT Partners

47.          The CBP expects that its partners in C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) will provide the re¬quired information under this rule as a regular part of their security-related procedures. Accurate and timely cargo dec¬larations are critical to the delivery of the cargo release bene¬fits that are part of C-TPAT participation. While C-TPAT participants will not be excluded from the advance reporting requirements, their participation in the program will be taken into account during the targeting process. Furthermore, C-TPAT participation by a carrier or a NVOCC will be a miti¬gating factor in determining penalties and liquidated dam¬ages.

Canada/Mexico Shipments

48.          The Final Rule does not apply to cargo that is shipped to Canada or Mexico and subsequently trucked or sent by rail into the U.S., if the vessel does not call on a U.S. port. CBP has targeting personnel stationed at seaports in Canada and is in close cooperation with Canadian Customs authorities. If either Customs administration suspects that goods are being routed in an attempt to evade scrutiny, those goods will be treated as high risk and be subject to cargo examination. For vessels that are departing Canada or Mexico with cargo des¬tined for the United States, the 24-hour rule does apply.

Containers at Dock

49.          In response to concerns from the trade that containers will have to be delivered to a carrier several days before lading, CBP has said that it wants the information on the cargo de¬livered earlier, not the container.

50.          For CBP purposes, the cargo information can be transmitted to CBP prior to the physical arrival of the container itself at the dock.

Empty Containers

51.          Cargo declaration information for bills of lading consisting solely of empty containers must be received by CBP in the AMS 24 hours prior to the arrival of the vessel for voyages 24 hours in duration or more. For voyages less than 24 hours in du¬ration, the cargo declaration information must be received by CBP in AMS at the time of sailing.

52.          For truck carriers, with the exception of FAST (Free And Se¬cure Trade) participants, CBP will not require any advance notification if the shipment consists solely of empty articles (pallets, tanks, cores, containers and the like) that have been designated as instruments of international traffic (IITs). However, if the IITs are commingled with other commercial cargo, CBP will require the requisite arrival notification for such commercial cargo via the authorized CBP-approved electronic data interchange system; and any empty IITs car¬ried aboard the conveyance must be identified as such and listed on the carrier’s cargo declaration.


53.          CBP views the carrier as the entity that controls the vessel, which includes:

(a)          Determining the ports of call

(b)          Controlling the loading and discharging cargo

(c)           Knowledge of cargo information

(d)          Issuing bills of lading

(e)          The entity that has typically provided the CF 1302 cargo declaration or the cargo information to prepare the CF

54.          1302 to the vessel agent. In the event that the parties to a contract cannot determine who is the carrier, a request for a CBP ruling may be made in accordance with Part 177 of the CBP regulations (19 CFR, Part 177). Information on this procedure can be found on the CBP Web site at: ruling letters.xml Once a carrier has obtained a continuous bond it is valid for all vessels controlled by the bonded entity. CBP regulations covering bonds are published at 19 CFR, Part 113. An Activ¬ity Code 3 International Carrier single transaction bond is only valid for one entrance and one clearance for one trans¬action (e.g., one voyage) at one port.

Foreign Remaining On Board Cargo (FROB)

55.          “FROB” cargo is cargo that is loaded in a foreign port and is to be unloaded in another foreign port with an intervening vessel stop in one or more ports in the United States. CBP considers FROB cargo a security concern because although the cargo does not have a final destination in the U.S., the cargo is transiting the U.S.

56.          All of the data elements required under the regulations must be provided for FROB cargo. CBP recognizes that for FROB cargo, the actual shipper, consignee and notify party may not be associated with an address in the United States. Therefore, CBP does not require a U.S. address on these data elements.

57.          If a shipper changes the cargo destination from FROB to a U.S. port after the vessel has sailed, it can be handled through a manifest correction. Manifest corrections are han-dled as a manifest discrepancy. Since the cargo was FROB and falls under the 24-hour requirement, information would have already been received 24 hours before lading. How¬ever, the shipment is subject to screening and examination due to the change in information.

Record Keeping

58.          CBP regulations impose a five-year statutory record keeping requirement for carriers and NVOCCs.


59.          For purposes of the 24-hour rule, the term “perishable mer¬chandise” is defined as merchandise that: is organic and pro¬duced for human consumption, that is not frozen, is subject to spoilage, and requires controlled temperature during transportation. Examples include fruits, vegetables, meat and fish products.

60.          Since many perishable commodities (e.g., bananas, pineap¬ples) are harvested and loaded within the 24-hour time win¬dow before vessel loading, information (such as final seal number, precise quantity, and container number) will be pre¬liminary 24 hours before vessel loading. The majority of the data elements, however, should be known. The only unknown data elements would be the exact weight and quantity. To address weight and quantity con¬cerns, CBP has concluded that in the case of perishable mer¬chandise, the carrier or NVOCC must provide CBP with a good faith estimate of the quantity and weight 24 hours be¬fore loading. CBP will allow a discrepancy tolerance of plus or minus 5 percent; if the good faith estimate is within this range, CBP will not require the manifest to be amended. With respect to other matters, CBP fully expects that the in¬dustry can adapt their business practice to designate a spe¬cific container and seal that will be used on a specific bill of lading and provide that information 24 hours prior to lading. Since much of the perishable industry operates utilizing con¬tainers, CBP will not authorize a break-bulk exemption for the perishable commodities community as a whole, although per-ishables that are not containerized and otherwise meet the def¬inition of break bulk may seek an exemption. As for overbooking, this is a practice that CBP has worked very hard over the years to eliminate, and it would be extremely difficult for both the industry and CBP to maintain proper documentation of overbooked cargo. Accordingly, CBP will not permit overbooking for perishables. CBP does not agree with reduc¬ing the 24-hour reporting requirement, as other mechanisms exist for addressing concerns regarding perishables.

Missed Voyages

61.          If information on a container has been transmitted 24 hours prior to lading on the vessel in compliance with the rules, and the 24 hours have expired without the carrier receiving a “do not load” message from CBP, but for some reason the con¬tainer misses the sailing of the vessel, the container is al¬lowed to sail on the next scheduled voyage without requiring a new 24-hour period, provided that:

(a)          The original bill of lading is deleted from the original vessel.

(b)          The bill of lading is input on the second vessel manifest without any changes to the bill information with the exception of the changes required to the transportation/ voyage data.

(c)           The next scheduled voyage sails within 24 hours of the previous departure time. If this is not the case, a new 24-hour time frame will be required prior to loading on the second vessel.

62.          In all cases, the cargo declaration must be amended to reflect the deletions and additions of the bills of lading that were de¬leted or added to a voyage.

Non-Compliant Cargo Targets

“No-Load” Orders

63.          The 24-hour rule gives CBP officers time to analyze the con¬tainer content information and identify potential terrorist threats before the U.S.-bound container is loaded at the for¬eign seaport, not after it arrives in a U.S. port. On May 4, 2003 CBP began to enforce the 24-Hour Rule by issuing “No Load” orders. A “No-Load” directive means that CBP has instructed the ocean shipping line not to load a container at a foreign port for delivery to the U.S. Selected non-compliant cargo targets are referred to the National Targeting Center (NTC) for coordination of the issuance of the “Do Not Load” message to the carrier or NVOCC. Non-compliant cargo targets include those where the con¬tents of a cargo container were not adequately identified. For example, the use of such vague cargo descriptions as “Freight-All-Kinds,” “Said-To-Contain,” or “General Mer¬chandise,” are no longer acceptable.

64.          The major goal of this initiative is to require that the valid de¬scription be input by the carrier or NVOCC in the cargo de¬scription field, including marks and numbers.

Monetary Penalties

65.          Commencing on May 4, 2003, CBP ports were authorized to issue monetary penalties for egregious violations of timeli¬ness. Seaports will be responsible for the review and enforce the timeliness of cargo declaration submissions. The selec¬tion of targets will be coordinated through the NTC. The is¬suance of penalties will be coordinated and approved through CBP Headquarters.

66.          On May 15, 2003, CBP ports were authorized to issue mone¬tary penalties for Foreign Remaining On Board (FROB) cargo that has an invalid cargo description and that has been loaded on board the vessel without providing CBP a 24-hour time frame to place a “Do Not Load” message on the cargo. Carriers and NVOCCs may be subject to penalties and liqui¬dated damages per each vessel arrival for violation of mani¬fest requirements. On behalf of carriers, masters of vessels will be assessed penalties per vessel arrival in accordance with 19 USC 1436 (penalties of $5,000 for the first violation and $ 10,000 for any subsequent violation attributable to the master). NVOCCs will incur claims for liquidated damages of $5,000 per vessel arrival in accordance with 19 CFR 113.64(c)and 19 CFR 4.7(b) and/or 19 CFR 4.7a(c). If there are multiple automated NVOCCs in violation of the FROB requirements on a vessel arrival, each automated NVOCC may be assessed liquidated damages.

Consignee Name Violations

67.          On May 15,2003, seaports started to take enforcement action on egregious consignee name and address violations leading to issuance of Headquarters-approved “Do Not Load” mes¬sages. Egregious consignee errors include fields left blank; the use of “To Order” and “To Order of Shipper” without cor¬responding information in the consignee field (e.g., a bank’s name and address); and notify party field or consignee name with no address, incomplete address (only city and state) or an invalid address.

68.          These selected non-compliant cargo targets will be referred to the NTC for coordination and approval prior to the issu¬ance of the “Do Not Load” message to the automated carrier or NVOCC. When selecting non-compliant cargo, CBP real¬izes that Foreign Remaining On Board cargo and some in-bond movements will not have a U.S. or standardized addresses.


69.          Consolidators are in the business of consolidating cargo for one consignee from multiple vendors, as opposed to NVOCCs who consolidate cargo for many shippers to many consignees. CBP has authorized NVOCCs to participate in Sea AMS, but not consolidators.

Issue #1 “Shipper” Definition

70.          Since, CBP has not yet defined “Shipper,” and consolidators were not addressed in the 24-hour Final Rule, in the interim, CBP will accept a consolidator’s complete name and address in the “shipper field.” The consolidator’s name and/or ad¬dress should not appear in the consignee field.

Issue #2 Who is the Shipper?

71.          Suppose the following:

72.          A “US Customer,” places an order with “Foreign Vendor” lo¬cated in England. “Foreign Vendor” takes the order and ad¬vises that they will produce and ship the goods from their “Factory” located in Italy. The “Factory” produces the goods, and advises “Foreign Vendor” that they are ready for ship¬ment. “Foreign Vendor” prepares shipping instructions and selects a local England NVOCC to move the goods directly from “Factory” in Italy, to Customer in the US. The terms of shipment are under a Line of Credit, between the “Foreign Vendor” and “U.S. Customer.”

73.          Who should be shown as the Shipper on the Master Bill of Lading if no House bill is involved? If a House Bill is in¬volved, the Master Bill of Lading will reflect the “Foreign NVOCC” as shipper to their “US NVOCC” office as the con¬signee. The House Bill will reflect the actual “US Customer” as consignee. Should “Foreign Vendor” or “Factory” be shown as the shipper on the House Bill? Answer: The shipper should be, either “Foreign Vendor” or the “Factory.”

74.          Although, CBP would like to have the most detailed informa¬tion on the shipper available, for targeting purposes, CBP will accept either party as the shipper until CBP can clearly identify the term “shipper” to the trade. Also, the consignee will not be the “U.S. NVOCC” office; it should be the actual “US Customer.”

Issue #3 Multiple Vendor Consolidations

75.          Imagine that a “U.S. Customer” advises their NVOCC that they are making several purchases from three Vendors, and want the NVOCC to collect the goods and ship them under one House Bill.

76.          The “U.S. NVOCC” relays the various vendors’ information to their “Foreign NVOCC” office for cargo collection. The “Foreign NVOCC” picks up all the goods from three differ¬ent vendors and prepares a House Bill of Lading. Since there will be three different vendors, who should be shown as the shippers)? Each shipment that has different shipper and consignee in¬formation must be identified on its own bill of lading. For example:

(a)          1st bill of lading - 1st vendor or factory is the shipper -U.S. customer is the consignee

(b)          2nd bill of lading - 2nd vendor or factory is the shipper -U.S. customer is the consignee

(c)           3rd bill of lading - 3rd vendor or factory is the shipper -U.S. customer is the consignee

77.          Each shipment will be identified in AMS under their own NVOCC bill of lading but, in most cases, listed in the same container.

Issue #4 Multiple Shippers

78.          CBP will not allow for multiple shippers or multiple con¬signees on one bill of lading. For every shipper/consignee re¬lationship a separate bill of lading must be created. Issue #5 In Care of Party

79.          The CBP will accept the name of the in care of party to be re¬ferred to in the shipper and/or consignee field, along with the actual shipper and/or consignee name and complete address. An example of this would be “Consolidator X on behalf of shipper A, with the complete address of the shipper A.”

Break Bulk Cargo Exemptions

80.          Carriers of break bulk cargo may apply for an exemption from the 24-hour rule filing requirements. Exemption re¬quests can be mailed to:

(a)          Customs and Border Protection

(b)          Border Targeting and Analysis, Room 5.5-B

(c)           1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

(d)          Washington, D.C. 20229 The CBP prefers that requests for information, exemptions and amendments be sent by e-mail to:

(e)          E-mail (preferred):

(f)           Tel: (866) 324-9169

81.          Fax: (703) 621-7780 Make sure that all e-mails and phone calls clearly reference “24 Hour Exemptions” and the CBP Exemption Application number, if assigned.

82.          Generally, exemption processing takes approximately two to three weeks for a complete review.

83.          The following information should be supplied in order to be considered for an exemption (per 19 CFR 4.7(b)(4)(ii)(A)): The carrier’s IRS number; the source, identity and means of the packaging or bundling of the commodities being shipped; the ports of call both foreign and domestic; the number of vessels the carrier uses to transport break bulk cargo, along with the names of the vessels and their Interna¬tional Maritime Organization (IMO) numbers; and the list of the carrier’s importers and shippers, identifying any who are members of C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism). CBP reserves the right to request any additional information it deems necessary and appropriate to ensure ad¬equate compliance with 19CFR 4.7(b)(4) and to perform necessary national security risk analysis. In general, all exempt carriers will receive a notice for one of the following decisions:

(a)          a full exemption (initial research complete, no expiration date)

(b)          an extension of their current exemption (further research required or more information necessary and temporary exemption extended)

(c)           a denial (decision and appeals process will be explained to carrier)

NOTE: Any cargo stowed in containers, including contain¬ers referred to as “ship’s convenience,” will be considered general cargo. No such containerized cargo will be exempt from the manifesting reporting requirements. For example. palletized boxes of bananas (not loose or loaded directly into a hold) stowed in shipping containers will be treated the same as all containerized cargo requiring information to be submitted 24 hours prior to loading.

Bulk Cargo

84.          For the purposes of the 24-hour advanced manifest rule only, the following definition will be used for bulk cargo: “Homogenous cargo that is stowed loose in the hold and is not enclosed in any container such as a box, bale, bag, cask, or the like. Such cargo is also described as bulk freight. Spe¬cifically, bulk cargo is composed of either: (A) free flowing articles such as oil, grain, coal, ore, and the like which can be pumped or run through a chute or handled by dumping; or (B) uniform cargo that stows as solidly as bulk cargo and re¬quires mechanical handling for lading and discharging.” Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Border Targeting and Analysis (BTA) has determined that the following list of commodities and commodity types can be classified as bulk cargo. To be classified as bulk, this cargo may not be con¬tainerized and must be easily identifiable as laden on the ves¬sel. Any bundling of the following commodities must only be for the purposes of securing the cargo. This list may be changed and updated as deemed appropriate by CBP. Coils of steel and other metals

(a)          Rails of steel and other metals

(b)          Wire rods of steel and other metals (may be coiled or flat)

(c)           Ingots of metal (precious or otherwise)

(d)          Round bars of steel or other metal

(e)          Deformed Bars/Rebars (of metal)

(f)           Plates (of metal)

(g)          Billets (of metal)

(h)          Slabs (of metal)

(i)            Pipes (of metal)

(j)           Beams (of metal)

(k)          Tubes/Tubing (of metal)

(l)            Angles, shapes and sections (of metal)

(m)         Sheets (of metal)

(n)          Expanded metal

(o)          Flat bars (of metal)

(p)          Strand wire (of metal)

(q)          Sawn Timber/Lumber as a commodity (not as packaging material)

(r)           Paperboard/Fiberboard/Plywood as a commodity (not as packaging material)

(s)           Paper products as commodity (wood pulp, newsprint and paper rolls and not as packaging material)

(t)           Certain perishable goods, not in boxes, bags or containerized, and not frozen, but laden and stowed in a way similar to other types of bulk cargo (includes seafood and produce).

(u)          Blooms (similar to “billets and of metal)

(v)          Anodes/Cathodes, in sheets only (may be corrugated)

Break Bulk Cargo

85.          Break bulk cargo is defined as cargo that is not containerized and that cannot be classified as “bulk” cargo under the above definition. For example, new and used vehicles will be clas¬sified as break bulk cargo. Although uniform in nature, vehi¬cles have identifying marks (such as a Vehicle Identification Number or VIN). One necessary aspect of bulk cargo is fun-gibility. The presence of a VIN removes that component from the shipment of new or used vehicles. It is important to note that the difference between bulk and break bulk is based not only on the type of cargo, but also on the way in which the cargo is stowed or loaded. For exam¬ple, bananas stowed loosely in a hold (not in boxes or con¬tainers) will be considered bulk. Palletized boxes of bananas loaded directly into a hold (but not loose or containerized) will be considered break bulk.

Data Elements (Form 3171)

86.          The manner in which data elements are reported to CBP is very important and requires conscious consideration on the part of both the carrier and the shipper. Reviewing every data element is beyond the scope of this work, but listed below are several data elements and a discussion of the types of issues that must be addressed.

Data Element - Cargo Description

87.          CBP regulations require a “precise description and weight of the cargo or, for a sealed container, the shipper’s declared de¬scription and weight of the cargo.” The cargo’s 6-digit tariff number may also be provided for those with the skill to pro¬vide it correctly. If there is doubt about the accuracy of a 6-digit tariff number, which can sometimes be difficult to ascer-tain, the AMS transmission should only include the precise narrative description. If the cargo description is left blank, AMS will reject the transmission.

88.          The party that provides the cargo declaration information to CBP is responsible for ensuring that the information is accurate. A precise narrative description is a description that is precise enough for CBP to be able to identify the shapes, physical characteristics, and likely packaging of the manifested cargo so that CBP can identify any anomalies in the cargo when a container is run through imaging equipment. The description must also be precise enough to identify any goods, which may emit radiation. How specific that information must be depends on the nature of the commodity. For example, “electronics” is not a precise description, but “CD players” or “computer monitors” would be.

89.          CBP will continue to work with the trade to refine what de¬scriptions are acceptable. CBP will continue to notify carriers and authorized transmitting parties when more difficult com¬modities are not adequately described. However, cargo de¬scriptions are one of the most important elements to assist CBP in precise targeting, and it is in the trade’s interest to be-come precise and compliant as quickly as possible. Not only will this avoid eventual enforcement action, but it may also avoid container “Do Not Load” messages (vessel only) and other “holds” due to CBP not having enough information to know what is in an individual shipment. IN NO CASE are the following descriptions acceptable: blank description; freight all kinds (FAK); said to contain (STC) with or without other description; general merchan¬dise; “26 pallets”; various retail merchandise; consolidated cargo; or other similarly vague descriptions. The following table is intended as a guide to acceptable and not acceptable cargo descriptions. The examples are illustra¬tive, not exhaustive. Phrases or words in parenthesis are meant as examples.


Not Acceptable



Wearing Apparel Ladies’ Apparel Men’s Apparel




Jewelry (may include watches)


Kitchen Appliances Industrial Appliances Heat Pump

Auto parts


New Taproots Used Taproots


Baseball Caps Blasting Caps Bottle Caps Hub Caps


Not Acceptable


Chemicals, hazardous Chemicals, non-hazardous

Actual Chemical Name (not brand name) Or U.N. HAZMAT Code Identifier #

Electronic Goods Electronics


Consumer Electronics Telephones

Electronic Toys (can include Game boys, Game Cubes, Dancing Elmo Doll etc.) Personal/Household Electronics (i.e. PDAs, VCRs, TVs)


Industrial Equipment, Oil Well Equipment Automotive Equipment, Poultry Equipment etc.


Wood Flooring Plastic Flooring Carpet Ceramic Tile Marble Flooring


Orange Fish Packaged Rice Packaged Grain Bulk Grain


Iron Pipes Steel Pipe


Iron Building Material Steel Building Material

Leather Articles

Saddles Leather Handbags Leather Jackets Shoes


Metal Working Machinery Cigarette Making Machinery


Sewing Machines Printing Machines


Plastic Pipes PVC Pipes Steel Pipes Copper Pipes

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