WTS AGENCIES BIDS TO ACT AS MANIFEST CLEARINGHOUSE FOR NVOs
WTS Agencies has started a new line of business as a clearinghouse transmitting cargo manifests to U.S. Customs’ Automated Manifest System on behalf of non-vessel-operating common carriers and ocean carriers.
WTS, based in Virginia Beach, Va., said Thursday it can provide direct access to the Automated Manifest System “as a certified service center and software provider for the transportation industry.”
The announcement of the clearinghouse service follows U.S. Customs’ recent ruling that ocean carriers and NVOCCs will have to submit cargo manifests at least 24 hours prior to cargo loading at the overseas port.
Many NVOCCs and carriers in the industry are known to be scrambling to amend their systems to comply with the Dec. 2 deadline of the 24-hour manifest ruling.
WTS said that AMS allows carriers to integrate their operating systems with U.S. Customs to file cargo manifests, including the port of arrival/departure, numbers from the bill of lading, description and weight of cargo, names of shippers/consignees and transit/warehouse information. The new Customs rule is aimed at preventing terrorists from bringing nuclear and other deadly weapons into the United States.
“Ocean carriers have had access to AMS, but now the United State's estimated 4,000 NVOCCs have received permission from Customs to use the system as a ‘slot charter,’ provided they obtain a Standard Carrier Alpha Code are licensed with the Federal Maritime Commission and possess an International Carrier Bond,” WTS said.
The agency and IT provider noted this new ruling will allow NVOCCs to log import information directly with Customs, bypassing their ocean carrier's system.
Most ocean carriers are using AMS. NVOCCs will begin having access to it on Dec. 2, the effective date of the Customs 24-hour manifest rule.
Given the short time given to comply with the rule, WTS believes it is faster and less expensive to use a third-party automated service provider to access AMS.
“By working with an existing service center, NVOCCs can bypass the 'test phase' with Customs and begin accessing AMS after submitting a simple letter to the agency,” WTS said.
WTS said most ocean carriers and NVOCCs do not have a global system like its own, which means that the 24-hour rule “will be a challenge to implement without global systems and full integration of information.”
For importers, WTS will provide a “one-stop shop” process whereby they can have a direct link to AMS. The IT company’s software provides electronic data interchange connectivity, which will enable NVOCCs and carriers to communicate electronically with terminals, vendors and shippers.