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Trade and Industry Department The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Brand Hong Kong - Asia world city

Commercial Information Circulars


Commercial Information Circular No. 30/2003

US : Mandatory Advanced Electronic Transmission of Sea Cargo Information

Strawman Proposal

January 23, 2003

MODE: VESSEL - Destined to the United States


Electronic paperless transmission utilizing the vessel automated manifest system by all ocean carriers and Non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs), or other knowledgeable parties registered or licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission, 24 hours prior to lading on the vessel at the foreign port. Electronic paperless transmission must include all U.S direct ports of arrival, all permits to transfer and all inbonds.

Customs is looking into the following programming changes:

Programming for a load date/time indicator, which will require the date of lading and time of lading as a mandatory field in the manifest transmission.

Developing an "end of manifest" function that must be utilized to signal the end of the manifest. All who transmit via AMS would be required to utilize this code when they have completed their manifest transmission.

Allowing the B04 record to be utilized (reference identifier) in vessel AMS. This would allow an NVOCC to report a master bill of a carrier. This field has been requested for use by the trade.


Utilize the current test program, "Vessel Paperless Manifest Test," to include the transmission of empty containers using the Empty Container Module.


Upon final rule, all ocean carriers and NVOCCs, or other knowledgeable parties, must develop strategies to become automated at all their direct ports of arrival in the U.S. A three-month phase-in period will be utilized to provide those entities that are not automated to begin the automation process. At the conclusion of the three-month period, those entities that are not current participants of the paperless manifest program will begin their six-month test period, as outlined in the paperless manifest test notice.

Upon final rule, those carriers who are currently automated will have 30 days to automate at all U.S. direct ports of arrival. At the conclusion of the 30 days, those carriers who are not participants of the paperless manifest program will begin their six-month test period.

Strawman Proposal

January 23, 2003

MODE: COMMERCIAL VESSEL - Departing the United States


To utilize the Automated Export System (AES) Vessel Transportation Module as the mechanism for receiving all export cargo information prior to export from the United States.


The AES is jointly administered by the U.S. Customs Service and the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census. The Bureau of Census has statutory authority over the commodity data residing in AES, and shares the information via a Memorandum of Understanding with Customs. Customs has statutory authority over the transportation (booking and manifest) data. Census uses the commodity data to compile trade statistics; Customs uses both the commodity and transportation data to target high-risk export shipments.


Customs will require all vessel cargo information (both commodity and transportation) to be electronically reported to Customs prior to export.

The Vessel Transportation Module is voluntary at this time with nine carriers participating. Vessel carriers transmit booking information as far in advance of sailing as practical, but no later than 72 hours prior to departure for all information that is available at that time. Bookings received later than 72 hours prior to departure must be transmitted as received. Booking information is used for targeting.

Customs proposes to change the timing of manifest transmission from within 10 days post departure, to 24 hours prior to departure. Customs anticipates that the content of the messages (Booking, Receipt of Booking, Departure, and Manifest) currently transmitted by vessel carriers will remain substantially the same. There may be changes in the sequence of the message to allow pre-departure reporting.

Additionally, "hold" and "release" messages are automatically transmitted electronically to the vessel carrier.