American Shipper

ADVANCED FILING OF CARGO MANIFESTS ?ESSENTIAL FOR CSI TO WORK?

ADVANCED FILING OF CARGO MANIFESTS ôESSENTIAL FOR CSI TO WORKö

   U.S. Customs Service Commissioner Robert Bonner said requiring carriers and non-vessel-operating common carriers to transmit cargo manifest data 24 hours prior to lading is necessary for the success of the Container Security Initiative, the agency’s international supply chain security program

   The 24-hour filing requirement, proposed by the agency earlier this month, is part of Customs' plan to have cargo pre-screened prior to its departure for a U.S. port.

   “The proposed regulation is essential for CSI to work,” Bonner said Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He said he expects to see a final ruling on that issue three weeks after the agency evaluates comments from the trade. The deadline for public comment on the ruling is Sept. 9.

   Bonner added that the ruling demands more detailed descriptions of cargo contents. The ruling prohibits the listing of cargo descriptions, such as FAK (“freight of all kinds”), and STC (“STC”) on manifests. “That kind of vague manifest description is no longer acceptable,” Bonner said.

   Bonner touted the expansion of the CSI program, initiated this January. He said that of the top 20 ports that ship to the U.S., six have indicated that they will join the initiative.

      He said that nearly 400 companies (about 300 of them are U.S. importers) are participating in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a program kicked off in April calling for companies to assess and develop practices to tighten supply chain security. He added that Customs is in the process of putting 1,000 new inspectors in place, to add to the current number of 20,000 inspectors stationed around the world.