U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced plans to test the air cargo export manifest capability within the Automated Commercial Environment. This test will begin no earlier than Aug. 10 with nine participants, including air carriers and freight forwarders, and may be limited to a single or small number of ports until any operational, training or technical issues on either the trade or government side are established and/or resolved. CBP plans to run this test for about two years and to use its results in developing a rule that would make the submission of air export manifest data in ACE mandatory.
Current Requirements. Under current CBP regulations, certain information must be submitted to CBP for aircraft with export cargo leaving the U.S. for any foreign area. The aircraft commander or agent must file the air cargo manifest (CBP Form 7509) at each port where export cargo is loaded on the aircraft, and the airline must file the complete air cargo manifest generally within four business days after departure. In addition, the U.S. principal party in interest must transmit and verify system acceptance of any required electronic export information for the cargo on the aircraft, generally no later than two hours prior to the scheduled departure time from the last U.S. port. The air carrier may not load cargo without first receiving either the related EEI filing citation, covering all cargo for which the EEI is required, or exemption legends, covering cargo for which EEI need not be filed. The outbound air carrier then must annotate the air cargo manifest, waybill or other export documentation with the applicable AES proof of filing, post-departure, downtime, exclusion or exemption citations.
Electronic Filing Data Elements. The forthcoming test will evaluate the functionality regarding the filing of air cargo export manifest data electronically to ACE. The test data elements, which are similar but not identical to those required on CBP Form 7509 and are to be submitted at the lowest bill level, are as follows.
- exporting carrier (which CBP finds to be clearer than the term “owner/operator” used on CBP Form 7509)
- marks of nationality and registration
- flight number
- port of lading
- port of unlading
- scheduled date of departure (which CBP finds to be clearer than the term “date” used on CBP Form 7509)
- consolidator (conditional)
- de-consolidator (conditional)
- air waybill type (master, house, simple or sub)
- air waybill number
- number of pieces and unit of measure
- weight (kg./lb.)
- number of house air waybills
- shipper name and address
- consignee name and address
- cargo description (which CBP finds to be clearer than the term “nature of goods” used on CBP Form 7509)
- AES internal transaction number or AES exemption statement/exception classification (per shipment)
- split air waybill indicator (conditional)
- hazmat indicator (yes/no)
- UN number (conditional) (if the hazmat indicator is yes, the four-digit UN number assigned to the hazardous material must be provided)
- in-bond number (conditional)
- mode of transportation (air, containerized or air, non-containerized)
These data elements will be mandatory unless indicated as conditional, in which case they must be transmitted only if that information pertains to the cargo.
CBP notes that while there are currently no additional data elements identified for other participating government agencies, it may enhance this test in the future with additional data or processing capabilities to assist with facilitation of air shipment movements.
An air carrier participating in this test will not have to file a paper CBP Form 7509 if it files the ACE export manifest data but would if the ACE filing is done by a freight forwarder.
Filing Timeframe. The test will also evaluate the feasibility of requiring air cargo export manifest information to be filed in ACE at least four hours prior to the loading of the cargo. CBP states that this change would enable it to easily link the EEI submitted by the USPPI with the export manifest information earlier in the process, which in turn would better enable it to assess risk and effectively target and inspect shipments prior to the loading of cargo to ensure compliance with all U.S. export laws. Any air cargo identified as potentially high-risk will receive a hold until required additional information related to the shipment is submitted to clarify non-descriptive, inaccurate or insufficient information, a physical inspection is performed, or some other appropriate action specified by CBP is taken. Once the cargo is cleared for loading, a release message will be generated and transmitted to the filer.
Benefits. CBP states that the benefits of participating in this test may include the following: lower costs associated with generating copies, transportation and storage of paper manifest documentation; increased security by leveraging CBP threat model and other data to employ a
risk-based approach to improve air cargo security and ensure compliance with U.S. export laws, rules and regulations through targeted screening; improved efficiencies by automating the identification of high-risk cargo for enhanced screening; and facilitation of corporate preparedness for future mandatory implementation of electronic export manifest submission requirements.
Eligibility. CBP is limiting this test to nine stakeholders in the air cargo environment: at least three, but no more than six, air carriers currently required to file paper CBP Form 7509; and at least three, but no more than six, freight forwarders. There are no restrictions with regard to organization size, location or commodity type, but participation is limited to those parties able to electronically transmit export manifest data in the identified acceptable format. Those interested in participating should submit an email to CBP stating their interest and qualifications.