Software Provides Manifest Messaging

The Descartes Systems Group Inc., a provider of logistics solutions, is developing a new product offering, Descartes Automated Manifest Service, to address the market need for ocean manifest messaging under the new U.S. Customs Service Container Security Initiative (CSI) requiring maritime cargo manifests for all U.S.-bound goods, or those in transit through U.S. ports, to be electronically filed 24 hours before a vessel leaves its port of origin.

In response to demand from customers and their trading partners (non-vessel operating common carriers, freight forwarders, shippers and ocean carriers) to comply with the CSI initiative announced in late 2002, Descartes Automated Manifest Service will leverage Descartes' (DSG) experience in value-added network services and logistics connectivity. DSG serves more than 150 non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs), 13 of the top 15 third-party logistics (3PL) companies worldwide, and 11 of the top 15 ocean carriers.

The Descartes Automated Manifest Service is being developed and tested with U.S. Customs Service to enable trading partners -- irrespective of their current systems and sophistication of technology -- ease of use and messaging services for the CSI initiative. Since this ruling affects a wide range of participants in global shipping with a range of technology capabilities, DSG is developing three options for compliance:

• Value-Added Network Services: This basic service will ensure the accurate and timely transmission of the maritime cargo manifest in CAMIR or ANSI X12 formats.

• Manifest Translation Services: For the added convenience to users for differing formats, DSG will offer a translation service to ensure that the current manifest formats can be converted and transmitted based on messaging requirements.

• Webform Manifest Data Entry: For those without value-added-network services and more limited technologies, DSG is developing a Webform entry mechanism for seamless translation and transmission of the manifest to U.S. Customs Service. This product offering is ideal for small or medium non-vessel operating common carriers.

Pricing for the new product will be based on a combination of set-up charges, a fee for message transmission, and a usage-based tiered fee for the user accessing the system through a Webform interface. DSG currently expects the Descartes Automated Manifest Service to be generally available in time for the CSI compliance deadline.

For more information, visit www.descartes.com.

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