Mandatory e-truck manifest arrives
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is ready to announce the first group of border crossings at which truckers will be required to file electronic instead of paper manifests in early 2007.
According to a draft CBP press release circulating in the trade community, the agency will publish a notice in the Federal Register later this week listing the first group of land border ports to require motor carriers to file electronic manifests.
CBP plans to phase in implementation along the northern and southern borders. Mandatory e-truck manifest transmissions will begin no sooner than 90 days after the notice is published.
The electronic truck manifest is a component of the CBP’s modernized computer system, the Automated Commercial Environment.
CBP has gradually deployed the system at ports of entry and truckers have had the option of filing their advance manifests using the automated system. CBP has long said it planned to make the system mandatory once it was rolled out and working smoothly.
CBP began deploying the e-truck manifest system at clusters of ports in early 2005.
Under the current security rules, truckers must fax their manifests on their own, or through customs brokers, to CBP at least two hours prior to arrival at the border. CBP wants to automate the manifest system, as it has for other modes of transport, to improve security and speed up cargo release by pre-checking shipping information, rather than having officers manually check papers when the driver pulls up at the booth. The system is viewed as providing security and efficiency benefits.
Carriers can file their manifests through the ACE Secure Portal, a customized Web site for authorized users, or directly to CBP through EDI transmissions. Third-party filing services are also allowed.
Last Friday, CBP said e-manifest filings were up to 13,000 in the month of September. Most of the electronic manifests are being filed by a few large companies that have set up CBP-compatible EDI systems. When all truckers are brought into the system there will be hundreds of thousands of e-truck manifests filed each month.