AMS-approved NVOs to get better control over in-bond cargoes
Non-vessel-operating common carriers worked with the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection this week to devise a more efficient way to electronically manage the movement of containerized cargoes within terminal areas and to inland destinations.
In mid-April, the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America approached Customs about NVO problems with inbound cargo flows under the agency’s advanced manifest rule.
Under this rule, effective Dec. 2, NVOs gained access to the Automated Manifest System, an electronic agency program previously reserved for vessel operators. This shift also required AMS-approved NVOs to take charge of their shipments after they reach the port.
To accommodate this rule, many NVOs made substantial investments in their computer systems to use AMS and became customs-bonded carriers to legally manage inland cargo moves.
Other NVOs, however, have struggled to automate their in-bond processes, causing cargo to be held at seaports until arrangements are made to move them forward.
Customs worked with about dozen NVOs in a technical working group to come up with a better way to manage these types of moves, called the “special bill” proposal.
The original proposed special bill called for vessel operators to manage arrivals of NVO cargoes and in-transit procedures. NVOs that had invested in their AMS systems protested the proposal.
A second special bill proposal was then presented to the agency that would give the NVOs the option to conduct the inland portion of the clearance process or hand it off to vessel operators. This was viewed by the agency and industry as unworkable.
A third “revised special bill,” developed by NVOs Shipco Transport and NACA Logistics Group, was proposed by the NCBFAA NVOCC Committee chairperson in consultation with other NVOs to Customs and Border Protection.
This revised special bill, which appears to be acceptable to Customs and Border Protection, gives the NVOs the option to manage their in-bond cargoes through the Paperless Master In-Bond program. Arrival information will be provided to Customs and Border Protection by the vessel operators. Otherwise the vessel operator can handle the cargo to destination.