02 July 2004
Full Enforcement of Electronic-Manifest Rule for Sea Cargo Begins
July 6 marks end of transition period, U.S. Customs
The United States will on July 6 begin full enforcement of a regulation
concerning electronic sea-cargo notification intended to combat
terrorist threats, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says.
In a July 2 news release, CPB said that advance electronically
filed information on cargo required by the regulation will allow
the bureau to identify and eliminate potential terrorist threats
before a U.S.-bound ship leaves a foreign port.
Under a 2002 U.S. law, all modes of transportation are required
to file electronically advance cargo manifests.
Although the requirements for electronic notification of cargo
information took effect March 4, the bureau had been applying "a
progressive enforcement strategy" to violations. Enforcement for
bulk carriers and break-bulk carriers (including passenger vessels)
began April 2 with denial of preliminary entry, issuance of penalties
at each arrival port and denial of unloading to vessels in violation,
according to the release. Warnings had also been issued to offending
carriers. But, effective July 6, there will be no exceptions or
waivers to the regulatory requirement to automate cargo notification,
the bureau said.
CBP had stated in March that the phased enforcement was needed
to give itself more time to work with shippers and carriers on
modifying critical aspects of data interchange systems and to make
the transition smoother.
Starting July 6, there will be no exceptions or waivers to the
requirement, CBP said.
Following is the text of the news release:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
July 2, 2004
ENFORCEMENT OF AUTOMATION REQUIREMENT FOR INBOUND VESSELS BEGINS
Washington, DC -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner
Robert C. Bonner today announced that starting July 6, 2004, CBP
will begin full enforcement of the automation requirement for vessel
carriers under the Trade Act Regulations. The regulations provide
that CBP must receive cargo information electronically via a CBP-approved
data interchange system before the cargo is brought into the United
CBP uses the cargo information to identify and eliminate potential
terrorist threats before a vessel sails from a foreign port to
U.S. seaports, rather than after a vessel and its cargo arrives
in the United States.
"Customs and Border Protection needs accurate cargo data and we
need it quickly to protect our homeland and the American people
from potential terrorist threats entering through our seaports," stated
Commissioner Bonner. "The automation required by the Trade Act
will bring both the Trade and CBP closer into the 21st century."
The Trade Act Regulations makes this possible by requiring vessel
carriers to transmit the data electronically to CBP via the Vessel
Automated Manifest System (AMS). With almost 9 million sea containers
arriving in the U.S. each year, automation and the use of state-of-the-art
technology allows CBP to quickly and efficiently risk-target cargo
for potential terrorist threats.
The Trade Act of 2002 regulations, which became effective on January
5, 2004 made automation mandatory for all modes of transportation,
both inbound and outbound. The inbound vessel mode is the first
to be affected.
On March 4, 2004, inbound vessel cargo information was required
to be transmitted electronically. CBP adopted a progressive enforcement
strategy to address violations of the Trade Act Regulations. Enforcement
for bulk carriers and break-bulk carriers including passenger vessels
started on April 2, 2004. The enforcement actions included denial
of preliminary entry, issuance of penalties at each port of arrival,
and denial of unloading. During the informed compliance period,
CBP issued warning notices to vessel carriers that arrived in violation
of the Trade Act Regulations.
Effective July 6, 2004, all inbound vessel carriers must comply
with the Trade Act Regulations' mandate to automate. There are
no exceptions or waivers to the automation requirement. Vessel
carriers that continue to arrive and present paper Inward Cargo
Declarations (CBP Form 1302) to CBP in violation of the Trade Act
Regulations will be denied permission to unload cargo. However,
passenger vessels will be allowed to disembark passengers.
For more information on the Trade Act Final Regulations (68 FR
68144) for all modes of transport, please log on to CBP's Web site
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the agency within the Department
of Homeland Security charged with the protection of our nation's
borders. CBP unifies Customs, Immigration and Agriculture Inspectors
and the Border Patrol into one border agency for the United States.