How to Streamline Import Documentation
Businesses continue to turn to offshore manufacturing locations and strategic global outsourcing partnerships to exploit cheaper production and labor costs. Often lost in the process, however, is the value global businesses can extract by capturing data deeper in the supply chain to scale inventory demands with capacity, rationalize costs, and manage exceptions when and where necessary.
Not all businesses are equipped with the processes and technologies to accomplish this and the vine for picking has ripened. If the U.S. government has any say, shippers and carriers will soon be required to communicate more than just the standard Automated Manifest System (AMS) shipment information to Customs authorities before ships and airplanes depart foreign countries.
When complying with U.S. Customs’ AMS, shippers have everything to gain by reusing and integrating data generated at point of origin. Consignees, for example, can work collaboratively with overseas agents to capture their AMS data feeds and leverage this information to populate data further along the pipeline—thus eliminating redundant data entry.
Moving forward, U.S. Customs’ "security filing 10+2" proposes to expand the AMS protocol and require consignees and carriers to provide nearly 100 percent of import documentation data prior to shipment transport. With such compliance comes greater opportunity for shippers and consignees to automate documentation and streamline processes. Among the potential advantages, companies can:
- Receive faster identification and release of low-risk shipments through interfaces with Customs Cargo Selectivity system, In-Bond system, and Automated Broker Interface (ABI).
- File or amend manifest or bill of lading data electronically.
- Establish electronic links to common carriers and auxiliary services.
- Receive status notification when an entry has been canceled or deleted.
- Receive cargo status and advance notice of General Order (GO) eligibility.
- Receive notice of other government agency holds.
- Receive exam notification.
- Reduce paper costs.
- Electronically interface with other agencies.
While U.S. authorities may soon mandate shippers and consignees to share this information, thereby forcing compliance, businesses should proactively look at streamlining inbound shipment documentation to better integrate with offshore partners, drive visibility, manage variability, and further reduce costs.
THE 411 ON AMS AND 10+2
THE AUTOMATED MANIFEST SYSTEM (AMSis a multi-modular cargo inventory control and release notification system. It interfaces directly with Customs Cargo Selectivity and In-Bond systems, and indirectly with the Automated Broker Interface (ABI), allowing faster identification and release of low-risk shipments. By reducing reliance on paper documents and expediting the processing of manifest and waybill data, AMS increases cargo flow, simplifies entry processing, and provides participants with electronic authorization to move cargo release prior to arrival.
SECURITY FILING 10+ would require 10 additional data elements from U.S. importers prior to vessel loading at non-U.S. ports, and two data set items from carriers. The additional information will enhance the Automated Targeting System for cargo screening. Under the provision, the importer would be able to designate an approved agent to submit the 10 elements. These additional pieces of information include: manufacturer, seller, consolidator, buyer and ship to names and addresses, container stuffing location, importer and consignee record numbers, country of origin of goods, and the commodity harmonized tariff schedule number. The 2 additional data sets are: Vessel Stowage Plan (or BAPLIE) and container status messages—both of which will be filed by the carrier.
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol