24 Hour Rule FAQ

The following is a short compilation by SCM Lines of the most frequently asked questions in regards to the 24 HOUR ADVANCE VESSEL MANIFEST RULE as answered by the US Customs Border & Protection agency. The purpose of this page is to introduce you to the subject. Additionally, carriers can address any questions directly to Customs by e-mailing them on: traderelations@dhs.gov

What is the 24 Hour Advance Vessel Manifest Rule?

It is the requirement for carriers and/or automated NVOCC's to submit a cargo declaration 24 hours before cargo is laden aboard the vessel at a foreign port.

Since when has this rule been effective?

The effective date of implementation was December 2, 2002.

What will be the enforcement strategy of this rule by Customs Border & Protection (CBP)?

Compliance with the 24-hour rule is a matter of National Security. We applaud the efforts of those entities that have taken the rule and implementation period seriously and we caution those that have not, that incomplete and late data will not be tolerated from carriers and NVOCCs of any size. We encourage those entities to meet with their customers and explain the repercussions that will begin on May 4th.

Commencing on May 4, 2003, CBP ports will be responsible for initiating "Do Not Load" messages for cargo whenever an "invalid" cargo description is used. These selected non-compliant cargo targets will be referred to the National Targeting Center (NTC) for coordination of the issuance of the "Do Not Load" message to the carrier or NVOCC. Invalid and valid cargo descriptions are clearly listed in FAQ 30 below and should be followed as an example of invalid cargo descriptions. The major goal of this initiative is to require that the valid description be input by the carrier/NVOCC in the cargo description field and no other, including marks and numbers. Additionally, CBP is encouraging that the relevant description of cargo be placed in the beginning of the first or second description line of the manifest, or the HTS field as appropriate.

Also on May 4, 2003, CBP ports will be authorized to issue monetary penalties for egregious violations of timeliness. Seaports will be responsible for the review and enforce the timeliness of cargo declaration submissions. The selection of targets will be coordinated through the NTC. The issuance of penalties will also be coordinated and approved through Headquarters.

On May 15, 2003, seaports will also take enforcement action on egregious Consignee name and address violations leading to issuance of Headquarters approved "Do Not Load" messages. Consignee description requirements are relatively clearly defined, yet we still experience egregious errors including fields left Blank, or the use of "To Order" and "To Order of Shipper" without corresponding 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.

These selected non-compliant cargo targets will be referred to the NTC for coordination and approval prior to the issuance of the "Do Not Load" message to the automated carrier or NVOCC. When selecting non-compliant cargo, CBP realizes that Foreign Remaining On Board cargo and some inbond movements will not have a U.S. or standardized addresses.

Also on May 15, 2003, CBP ports will be authorized to issue monetary 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 NVOCC's may be subject to penalties and liquidated damages per each vessel arrival for violation of manifest 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 per 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.

These are the next steps in CBP's process of ratcheting-up enforcement procedures to ensure full compliance with the rule over the course in the near term.

Important information about paper manifest onboard

Please clarify which carriers participating in CBP' AMS advance cargo manifest filing will have to have a paper copy of the manifest on board the vessel (in contrast to be able to provide one upon request).

This issue touches on a number of CBP regulations and policies, such as the paperless manifest test, that are currently under review. But recognizing the business interests at stake, in the near term, CBP has decided not to enforce the paper cargo declaration (CF 1302) rule for formal entrance if a carrier or NVOCC has successfully automated. However, one must be provided upon request by CBP. In addition, the remaining documents comprising the vessel manifest must be available for presentation upon entry of the vessel. CBP will periodically assess this policy to ensure that it is not having an adverse effect on operations.

Important information about Coast Guard Rulemaking

The final rule makes clear that "by requiring the submission of cargo declaration information 24 hours prior to lading, CBP is eliminating the requirement for vessel carriers to submit an additional cargo declaration upon arrival in the United States." The Coast Guard has before it a proposed rulemaking that would require cargo manifests to be filed with CBP 96 hours before vessel arrival. Now that CBP has finalized its rule, the Coast Guard rule has been overtaken by events.

Will CBP please inform the Coast Guard that its proposed 96 hour rule should not apply to any carrier that is filing in AMS and complying with the new CBP advance manifest filing requirements?

CBP will require only one electronic manifest to be submitted by the carrier and will work with the Coast Guard to coordinate this transmission. The presentation of the paper manifest will have to be available to both agencies.

Important information about Mexico/Canada Shipments

Please clarify whether the final rule applies to cargo shipped from a foreign port to Canada or Mexico and then trucked or railed across the border to a final U.S. destination. How will CBP address the concern that cargo may be diverted from ocean carriers to truck or rail carriers as a means of circumventing the rule?

The final rule does not apply to cargo that is shipped to Canada or Mexico and subsequently trucked or railed 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 cooperation with Canadian authorities has been excellent. If either Customs administration suspected that goods were being routed in an attempt to evade scrutiny, those goods would likely be treated as high risk. For vessels that are departing Canada or Mexico with cargo destined for the United States, the 24-hour rule does apply.

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