Ocean Carriers Must Meet New Regs or No US Entry

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published its interim rules for maritime cargo carriers and importers indicating new data to be submitted to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before a vessel will be permitted to enter the country.

DHS says the Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements are aimed at preventing terrorist weapons from being transported to the US.

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This interim final ruling follows the notice of proposed rulemaking published on January 2, 2008. In the period between the initial posting and now CBP says it has collected 200 public comments and “made significant enhancements to the proposed rule.” Comments on the new, final, rule on the six of its elements for which there is some sort of flexibility are now open and must be received by June 1, 2009. After all comments are received and assessed, a final rule will be published in the Federal Register and 60 days later it will take effect. No specific date for that has yet been announced.

At present carriers must submit advance cargo information no later than 24 hours before freight is loaded at a foreign port. This rule will remain in effect and additionally a vessel stow plan and container status messages for “certain scenarios pertaining to cargo containers destined to the US” will have to be submitted, as well.

Under the new rules, importers will be required to provide eight data elements generally no later than 24 hours in advance of cargo being “laden aboard a vessel destined to the US, for shipments consisting of goods intended to be entered into the US and goods intended to be delivered to a foreign trade zone (FTZ).” The data elements include: Seller; Buyer; Importer of record number/FTZ applicant identification number; Consignee number(s); Manufacturer (or supplier); Ship to party; Country of origin; and Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) number.

There is both a link to the interim final rule and a fact sheet on the new cargo requirements. They are available at www.dhs.gov. For more information on the rules, visit www.cbp.gov. Send questions to [email protected].

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