The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), World Shipping Council, National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA), and the Retail Industry Leaders Association filed a petition Feb. 2nd with the Dept. of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) saying the agency needs to suspend, reconsider, and amend portions of its final rule on advance electronic presentation of inbound ocean freight. At issue is a requirement that in certain cases carries must identify foreign vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, or similar parties as the “shipper” on inbound ocean bills of lading.
The petition noted that in certain cases, carriers must obtain the names of foreign source suppliers – the carrier’s customer’s customer. Carriers have no first-hand knowledge of this information, the petition asserted. The petitioners further stated that this runs counter to the Trade Act, which states “the requirement to provide information shall be imposed on the party most likely to have direct knowledge of that information.”
Another concern expressed in the petition was a requirement that carriers issue multiple bills of lading on consolidated shipments. This would require the carrier to name individual foreign vendors or suppliers as the shipper. In some cases, the carrier may not be involved in a transportation contract with those entities. Thus, says the petition, the rule will have substantial adverse legal and commercial effects on international commerce.
The four petitioners, representing shippers, retail manufacturers, carriers, and intermediaries, propose CBP reinstate the original version of the rule as published on Oct. 31, 2002. That earlier version of the rule required the carrier to submit the shipper’s complete name and address, but it did not define the term shipper. A copy of the joint pleading is available at www.www.nitl.org/cbp.pdf