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US Customs 10+2 Requirements

US Dept of Homeland  Security logo US Customs is about to add a layer of information flow that may seriously complicate importation of goods into the United States.

The US Department of Homeland Security this week issued a Notice of Rulemaking looking to adopt a new, more strenuous security screening program for ocean shipments destined to the United States.

The rules, while not yet law, are controversial because of the amount of data required to be electronically submitted by both carriers and importers to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Further, some of the data elements may not be readily available at the time of shipment.

Customs regulations were established in 2002 requiring presentation of ship manifests 24 hours prior loading of US bound containers and breakbulk cargoes at foreign ports. This information was to be electronically transmitted to US Customs 24 hours prior to vessel departure.

The purpose of the "24 Hour Rule" was to allow Customs to evaluate risks of smuggling weapons of mass destruction through ships and cargo containers destined to US ports. In 2003, the 24 hour rule was amended to require electronic transmission of information through the CBP Vessel Automated Manifest System (AMS).

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has cargo risk assessment capabilities in its Automated Targeting System (ATS) to screen ocean containers prior to loading aboard ships in foreign ports. These capabilities use data supplied by ocean carriers, non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs), brokers, importers or their agents.

In 2006, the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE) required that additional information be transmitted to Customs for improved targeting of high-risk shipments. Some of the information was required from Importers of Record and some was required by carriers. Most of the information however was contained in the carrier/NVO bill of lading.

Containership at berth Customs is now planning requirements for additional commercial information known as 10+2. Ten of the elements will come from importers describing the cargo, and two of the elements will come from carriers bearing information regarding the containers and conveyances in which the cargo is loaded.

Under the proposed regulations, carriers would be required to electronically submit a vessel stow plan and container status messages regarding specific events relating to containers loaded on vessels destined to the United States. These are the TWO of the 10+2 rule. These are well within most carrier EDI capabilities and ANSI and EDIFACT standard messages. The purpose of the Container Status Messages, is to provide proof of the carrier chain and span of control of the goods in transit through multi-modal shipping.

Importers would be required to submit an Importer Security Filing containing 10 data elements (the TEN of 10+2). For purposes of the proposed regulations, importer means the party causing goods to arrive within the limits of a port in the United States.

The Ten Importer Required Elements are:

1. Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
2. Seller name and address
3. Buyer name and address
4. Ship to name and address
5. Container Stuffing location
6. Consolidator name and address (as needed)
7. Importer of record number / FTZ applicant identification number. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) number.
8. Consignee numbers (IRS number, EIN number, Social Security number or CBP assigned number, same as CBP 3461 form.)
9. Country of Origin (country of manufacture, production, growth (same as CBP 3461 form).
10.Commodity US Harmonized Tariff Schedule

For Importers whose cargo is moving on an IE or T&E, an additional Five elements are required.

1. Booking party name and address
2. Foreign port of unlading (for shipments remaining on board a vessel)
3. Place of Delivery
4. Ship to name and address
5. Commodity US Harmonized Tariff Schedule

While Customs apparently recognizes that these reporting requirements will place additional burden on importers and carriers,  they have stressed that membership in C-TPAT will continue to be viewed positively and the shipments moved by C-TPAT members are likely to be cleared faster than by non-members.

Look for more information on this subject going forward as this issue is likely to be a substantial cost and logistics issue for US importers. What will be interesting is the degree of technical savvy and flexibility US CBP will have in receipt of carrier and importer data.   Not all will be able to support formal ANSI or EDIFACT EDI messages.   If Customs can adopt a more flexible XML data structure, then getting this information stands to be much easier and much cheaper to get.

The official Federal Register proposal can be downloaded here.