U.S. CUSTOMS INITIATES EXPORT SEA CONTAINER INITIATIVE AGREEMENT
U.S. Customs has developed a program which it says will help ocean
carriers improve their timeliness when filing shippers export declarations.
The agency started developing its Export Sea Carrier Initiative
Agreement three years ago after it found that carriers were only 70-percent
compliant when filing shippers export declarations, or SEDs, with their
Customs collects SEDs for the Census Bureau’s trade statistics. The
agency also uses the information for enforcement purposes.
Customs encourages exporters to use the Automated Export System to file
their SEDs. But in cases when the exporter is not on AES, the carrier is
responsible for submitting the paper SEDs to Custom on behalf of the
The agreement allows carriers to file paper SEDs for an entire manifest
within 10 days after departure from the final port of export to a local
Customs office where the carrier’s centralized documentation center is
located. These filings, however, must be accompanied by a specified cover
sheet and export declarations must be separated by vessel and port of
In return for participating in the agreement, however, carriers will be
able to receive a penalty/liquidated damage mitigation option when mistakes
Major carriers, such as Crowley, Sea-Land, APL, OOCL and Maersk, say they
support the program.
To participate, a carrier must submit a letter of intent to participate
in AES. Once the carrier is active in the system, Customs will then measure
the carrier’s outbound manifest compliance rate to make sure that it
exceeds 85 percent.