CARRIERS, CENSUS RELISH DRAMATIC DECREASE IN PAPER SED FILINGS
When the ocean carriers imposed a $100 fee last November to handle paper shipper’s export declarations, more exporters and freight forwarders quickly began to file these documents electronically through U.S. Customs’ Automated Export System, or via Census’ free Internet link, AESDirect.
Customs uses the data in SEDs to target illegal shipments leaving the country, while Census compiles the data for the country’s international trade statistics.
As part of the Bureau of the Census/Ocean Carrier Agreement to Eliminate Paper Shipper’s Export Declarations, 42 carriers agreed to help Census promote the use of AES filing by exporters and forwarders. In addition, the carriers developed a $100 fee in their tariffs for those exporters and forwarders that continue to file paper SEDs after Nov. 1.
The agreement is showing significant results. Census has reported a 83 percent reduction in the number of paper SEDs filed for ocean shipments.
Carriers have routinely said that they want out of the business of handling paper SEDs. Customs issues carriers penalties of $1,000 for missing SEDs in their manifests. Some carriers said they simply won’t load shippers’ containers without the SEDs.
Carriers still dedicate lots of staff and other resources to ensure that their shipper customers are complying with the SED rules and on promotion of AES and AESDirect.
“We have an army of people at our service centers to track down those SEDs,” said Adi Abel, manager of customs and trade processes for Maersk Sealand. “That’s pathetic.”
Census said it will continue to market AES to the shipping industry. Seminars are scheduled with the industry in Kansas City, Mo., on April 3, and at New York City on May 23. These seminars also include agency representatives from Office of Foreign Assets Control, Customs and State.
“We’re constantly out there giving information on how to complete SEDs correctly and how to use AES,” said Dale C. Dickerson of the Census Foreign Trade Division Regulations, Outreach & Education Branch.
“The outreach is working,” said a carrier executive. “The government couldn’t have made it easier for the industry to automate the export process.”