BONNER: ADVANCED MANIFESTS ON CUSTOMS’ AGENDA
U.S. Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner said his agency would consider implementing a program requiring prefiling of cargo manifests with information on the shipper, consignee, and contents 24 hours before lading at a foreign port.
This effort, Bonner said, could be part of a Custom’s post-Sept. 11 security program, the Container Security Initiative, which calls for pre-screening of containers before arrival at a U.S. port.
Advanced transmissions would not be the “panacea” for improved container security, Bonner said. However, it would allow Customs to better target “high risk” shipments for inspection.
Customs currently receives advanced transmissions with information on some shipments prior to arrival at American ports. “In many instances it is not accurate, it is not complete, and it is not as timely as we need,” said Bonner, speaking at a Joint Industry Group meeting in Washington Tuesday.
Bonner addressed one attendee’s concern that such transmissions, if made public, could be used as a competitive weapon. Customs would consider accepting direct filings of non-vessel operating common carriers’ manifests, he said.
Bonner added that, since coming to Customs in September, the agency has had to assume a security role, in addition to enforcing compliance with trade laws. He asked for the industry’s cooperation and patience. “If you were in my shoes, you would know how important that is,” he said.