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January 03, 2008 

Customs and Border Protection Proposes Rulemaking On Advance Trade Data Elements

On January 2, 2008, Customs and Border Protection (CBP or “Customs”) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register that would require both importers and carriers to submit additional data to Customs pertaining to cargo before the cargo is brought to the U.S. by vessel. Under the current regulations any vessel subject to entry is required to submit certain information related to the vessel’s ocean containers (i.e., the cargo manifest) 24 hours before the cargo is laden aboard the vessel at the foreign port. Known as the “24 Hour Rule”, the current regulations also enumerate specific informational elements that are required in the cargo manifest. The proposed rule, if adopted, would expand the nature of information carriers and importers are required to submit to Customs.

The proposed rulemaking is mandated under the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006, and is one of several actions intended to improve high-risk targeting of marine cargo destined to the United States. Both the 24 Hour Rule and the proposed rule depend on data supplied by carriers, non-vessel operating common carriers, importers and brokers through the Automated Targeting System (ATS). ATS screens 100 percent of cargo shipments to the U.S. at foreign seaports and identifies high risk targets that will subsequently face inspection on arrival at U.S. ports. The proposed rule is aimed at increasing this risk assessment capacity by requiring importers and carriers to submit data electronically, and by expanding the advance data elements required for ocean cargo shipments to the U.S.

The proposed rule would require importers to provide ten data elements, and carriers to provide an additional 2 data elements. As reflected below, many of these data elements are analogous to entry information and manifest data Customs currently receives for ocean cargo.

An importer, or person causing goods to arrive within the limits of a port in the U.S. would be required under the proposed rule to submit an Importers Security Filing within 24 hours before cargo is laden abroad a vessel. The Importers Security Filing for cargo (other than foreign cargo remaining on board) must contain the following data elements:
1) Manufacturer name and address
2) Seller name and address
3) Container stuffing location
4) Consolidator name and address
5) Buyer name and address
6) Ship to name and address
7) Importer of record number
8) Consignee number
9) Country of origin of the goods
10) Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule number (6 digits)

The data elements included in the proposed Importers Security Filing are readily available in current logistics processes.

In addition, the proposed rule would require carriers to submit (1) a vessel stow plan revealing the location of the cargo within 48 hours of departing from the foreign port (or for shorter trips, prior to the vessel’s arrival to the first U.S. port); and (2) container status messages.

The information carriers would be required to submit in the proposed vessel stow plan is generally the same information ocean carriers must currently submit as part of their cargo manifest (i.e., data regarding the vessel, each container, and unit of break bulk cargo laden on the vessel). However, carriers would be required to submit under the proposed rule, a stow plan revealing the cargo’s position. Further, the new rule would allow carriers 48 hours after departure from the last foreign port, in certain instances, to submit the stow plan.

With respect to container status messages, the new rule would require carriers (except carriers of bulk and break bulk cargo) to submit updates for certain events relating to all containers laden with cargo destined to arrive within the limits of a port in the U.S. by vessel, on a daily basis. Carriers would be required to report terminal container movements and any change in the status of containers no later than 24 hours after the message is entered into the carrier’s equipment tracking system. Customs would require these messages to be submitted through the Automated Manifest System (AMS). A complete list of events that would trigger these reporting requirements is available in the Federal Register notice.

Carriers would be permitted to use either American National Standards Institute (ANSI) X.12 standard, or the United Nations rules for Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport (UNEDIFACT) standard to create container status messages. The following information must be included for each generated message:
1) Event code being reported;
2) Container number;
3) Date and time of the event being reported;
4) Status of the container (empty or full);
5) Location where the event took place; and
6) Vessel identification associated with the message.

Written comments regarding the proposed rule must be submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection by March 3, 2008.




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