DHS plans to require more shipping cargo info

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DHS' proposed rule

Importers and carriers that ship cargo to U.S. ports would have to file additional information about shipments electronically before their arrival under a rule the Homeland Security Department has proposed.

The planned regulation, published last week for comment, would require importers to electronically file 10 additional elements describing the cargo, and carriers to submit two additional pieces of information about the containers and conveyances in which cargo is loaded on ships. For example, the rule would require that carriers submit “a stow plan” no later than 48 hours after departure from the last foreign port. Bulk carriers would be exempt from the new requirements.

Officials have required certain information 24 hours prior to the loading of containers in ships bound for the United States since 2002.

But, CBP officials say, internal and external government reviews suggest that more advance data will provide “more effective and more vigorous cargo risk assessments” than the current protocol, which relies on a ship’s manifest information or cargo declaration.

Furthermore, the new regulations would satisfy Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 requirements for additional information about cargo destined for the United States.

Under the proposed regulations, importers would be required to transmit their security filings through a CBP-approved electronic data interchange system — either the Automated Broker Interface system or the Vessel Automated Manifest System.

CBP says it is trying to align the data requirements to those of the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework. CBP estimates the proposed rule would affect 11 million import shipments carried by more than 1,000 companies.

In the proposed rule, the agency said that the new plan, which would cost shippers hundreds of millions of dollars per year, represents the best balance between cost and security. The costs are so high because of the large volume of shipments, not high per-transaction costs, the agency said, noting that Importer Security Filings would only add up to an average of $38 per shipment. Vessel stow plans would cost $12 to $84 more per trip.

In the Federal Register, the agency also makes the case that the effects on international shipping are minimized because the Importer Security Filings are required to report the cargo that will be shipped 24 hours in advance of arriving, while the container itself may be brought to the seaport at a later time.

The public has until March 3 to comment on the proposed rule.

Under the proposed “10+2” requirements, importers would have to file the following information:

  • Manufacturer or supplier name and address.

  • Seller or owner name and address.

  • Buyer or owner name and address.

  • Ship-to name and address.

  • Container stuffing location.

  • Consolidator or stuffer name and address.

  • Importer of record number/foreign trade zone applicant identification number.

  • Consignee numbers.

  • Country of origin.

  • Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule number.

Carriers would have to submit:

  • A vessel stow plan.

  • Container status messages, which report the fullness of the containers and other movements.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.


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