Automated Manifest System

Automated Manifest System: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

I know you’d like to learn more about automated manifest system.

That’s why this guide will answer all questions you have been asking about automated manifest system (AMS).

Let’s dive right in.

What is an Automated Manifest System?

An automated manifest system is part of the USA customs clearance process manned by the customs and border protection department.

If you are importing to the USA, you have to fill in your details on the AMS.

Information that you should fill in the AMS includes details of your cargo, including the contents.

How does AMS Work?

The process of filing AMS is a must for any shipment passing through or entering the USA.

It involves submitting details of your cargo through an online platform to the customs and border protection unit.

You must submit the details before your cargo reaches your entry point in the US.

Either you or your supplier is responsible for paying the necessary fee for AMS depending on your contract.

Who should File AMS?

Three main parties can file AMS before your goods arrive in the USA.

You can have your supplier file for you if the contact you have with them allows for that.

Your freight forwarder can file your cargo detail on the AMS depending on the contract.

Alternatively, you can fie the information by yourself.

However, regardless of who files cargo details on AMS, you counter to check on the information before submitting the details.

This prevents the customs authorities from charging you a penalty for wrong information.

You also have to ensure you submit your AMS at least 24hours before your shipping vessel departs from a country of origin.

What is AMS Code?

An AMS code is a code that distinguishes your cargo when filing it on the system.

The code depends on the type and nature of your goods, their quantity, and country of origin.

What is the Difference Between Automated Manifest System and Importer Security Filing?

The automated manifest system allows you as an importer to report the details of your cargo to the US customs before sailing from a country of origin.

Importer Security Filling allows a third party to register your cargo details to the customs system before you load them to a carrier.

What is the Importance of AMS?

AMS Screen

AMS Screen

AS plays a crucial factor in facilitating the customs clearance of your goods. Its importance includes:

Faster Processing

AMS is an online platform that lets you upload the details of our cargo entering the USA.

This is relatively easy and faster compared to filling paperwork.

Faster processing saves you the time you can translate into profit by focusing on other aspects of your business.

Future Reference

Since the process is automated and online, the customs authorities store the information securely for future references.

This allows them to view your shipping history, which can facilitate other aspects of importation.

Easy Identification

Proper filling of an AMS helps the customs authorities to identify your goods easily and handle them accordingly.

For instance, they can handle hazardous and other restricted goods careful since they know what to expect.

It also helps in identifying potential threats in the imports and separate before they become dangerous.

Improves Accuracy Filing

You, as an importer, is responsible for filing the necessary information on the AMS portal.

As such, there is minimal chance of filing errors since you know your cargo.

Paying the penalty on the wrong information you submit also ensures you only have the right information on the portal.

What is AMS Filing Fee?

An AMS filing fee is the amount you pay for filing your cargo on the AMS.

The purpose of this fee is to facilitate processing your shipment into the USA.

This fee depends on the bill of lading or airway bill for your cargo.

It is your responsibility or that of your supplier to pay for the AMS fee.

Which Modes of Transports are Applicable for AMS Filing?

Common modes of transport that require AMS filing are ocean and air freight.

This is because most people use these modes to import goods to the USA.

However, custom and border department require AMS filing for other modes of transport such as road and rail.

What is the Advantage of AMS Freight Tracking System?

The main advantages of using AMS freight tracking system including:

  • Faster process which reduces the need for filing paperwork
  • Facilitates future referencing since all the documents are in soft copy
  • It gives the customs and border control department an easy time of identifying potential shipment into the USA.
  • Facilitates access of cargo information by other government agencies such as port authorities and freight lading professionals
  • Freight tracking system eliminates bureaucracy and reduces diplomatic tension between countries due to trade. This is by ensuring there is a faster and easy customs clearance of your goods.

What is Ocean AMS Filing Requirements?

The requirements for ocean AMS filing include:

  • Your details and that of your freight forwarder including name and address.
  • Container details including the seal number
  • Hazardous goods code
  • Description of your goods including the buying price and quantity
  • Last foreign port of departure or the port of origin
  • Details of your carrier, including country of ownership and necessary documents. You should also indicate the voyage number and SCAC.
  • The expected date of arriving in a given port of entry in the USA.

What are the Time Limits for Submitting Documents in AMS?

You should file documents in AMS at least 24hrs before the scheduled departure time for your cargo from the country of origin.

It is important to consider if your cargo is passing through another country before it arrives in the US.

In such a situation, you need to file your documents in AMS 24hrs before your goods depart from the last foreign port.

How is AMS Filing Done?

There are two ways in which you can file your AMS. That is, cargo reporting and conveyance report.

Cargo reporting takes place at least 24hrs prior to loading your goods to a carrier from your port of origin.

If your goods are already on the way, you should fill an import security filling data element.

You should attach the ISF plus two documents when cargo reporting.

Conveyance report is one that you submit before your goods arrive in the USA.

Your forwarder is the one who usually submits this report.

A freight forwarder uses the bill of lading and commercial invoice to derive information needed on the conveyance report.

Bill of lading sample

Bill of lading sample

What are the AMS Customs Requirements and Checklist?

An appropriate AMS has the following customs requirements and checklist:

  • Your name and address and that of your forwarder.
  • Container seal number.
  • The definitive description of the carrier. It includes country of documentation, voyage number, and SCAC (Standard Carrier Alpha Code).
  • Hazardous material code if you are shipping such goods.
  • Container number
  • A definitive description of your cargo. This includes the quantity and its weight.
  • Port and country of origin
  • The last port to dock before departing for the USA
  • First foreign point of entry where your carrier takes procession of the cargo
  • Expected arrival date to the first point of entry in the USA

The information you provide must be correct and verifiable.

Failure to do this may lead to various consequences by the customs authorities.

What is the Consequence of Not Submitting the Correct Details to AMS?

There are various consequences of not filling the right information on AMS.

They include:

  • Paying a monetary fine depending on the type of information you have left out
  • The customs authorities may opt to seize your goods and carry out further inspection for potential threats. This is common if they suspect that you are importing illegal goods.
  • There is a delay in receiving your goods into the USA. This is to allow the customs authorities to inspect your goods and submit the correct information.
  • A delay in receiving your goods due to customs holding it can end up costing you financially. This is because it denies you the chance of selling your goods to the final consumer.
  • Holding goods can bring about diplomatic tensions between the US and the country of origin, especially if it is a persistent issue. This is because it denies trade opportunities for the two countries.

How does AMS Save Time?

There are several ways through which AMS saves time.

For example, using AMS removes the need to physically present your documents for customs clearance by the customs and border protection department.

AMS allows for faster clearance of your cargo by the customs authorities.

This is by submitting the correct information on the AMS.

The customs authorities take less time verifying and cross-referencing on your shipping history.

This is because they can easily retrieve your details online compared to searching through documents.

It also allows the customs authorities to focus on suspicious goods before they arrive in the USA.

Such goods include prohibited and restricted and those whose owners have failed to file AMS.

What Happens if you don’t Comply with AMS?

There are various consequences of not complying with AMS.

For instance, customs and border protection department may hold your goods for further investigation.

In certain instance, the customs may not allow the entry of your goods into the USA.

This may force you to ship back your cargo to another destination or the country of origin.

Another consequence of not complying with AMS is that you may have to pay a fine for your goods to enter the US.

Therefore, you must ensure you comply with all the AMS requirements before shipping goods into the USA.

This includes filing the right information about your cargo.

What Parties are Required to Participate in AMS?

The carrier of your goods is the one required to provide the necessary information on AMS.

Such information includes the expected date of arrival for your cargo and its contents.

However, other parties may participate voluntarily in AMS to facilitate the shipping process.

These parties include:

  • An automated broker interface filer. This can either be a customs broker or you as the importer.
  • Container freight station
  • Express consignment carrier facility

Since their participation is voluntary, the information they provide is direct to the customs and border protection department.

If a Freight Forwarding Company does not Fall into One of the Categories of Eligible Participants, may it Participate in AMS?

No. It is impossible for a freight forwarding company not on the qualified categories to participate in AMS.

If that is the case, such a forwarder should submit the information to your goods’ carrier.

They can alternatively submit it to one of the other parties that are eligible to participate in AMS.

What Methods may be used to Transmit Information through AMS?

The three methods you can use to transmit information through AMS are:

  • Developing a software interface. When using this method, you have to adhere to your customs automated manifest interface specifications.
  • Providing the necessary data to a centre that offers AMS services.
  • Purchasing communication and software that is commercially available.

What is a Split Shipment?

Delivery in split shipment

Delivery in split shipment

Split shipment is a situation where a shipment of your order takes place through more than one carrier though it only uses one airway bill.

It is common in air freight.

There are different reasons why you can have a split shipment.

For instance, your cargo may bulky for a single carrier to ship it.

Split shipment can also be due to storing your goods in different locations.

Rather than wait for consolidating your cargo before shipping, you can opt to have them separately.

You don’t pay extra during split shipment.

Instead, your carrier quickly arranges how to ship your cargo using the next available carrier.

When a Carrier Splits a Consolidated Shipment, is it Required to Send any Information for Lading’s Associated Bills?

Yes. Your entire goods usually use one bill of lading which the first carrier usually carries and submits to the AMS.

The subsequent carriers won’t have to provide a separate bill of lading.

For Consolidated Shipments, Do you need Separate BOL Record for Each Shipper/Consignee Relationship?

Yes, you have to provide separate BOL record for each shipper/consignee relationship.

This facilitates proper documentation of the different consolidated cargoes.

It also becomes easier to inspect and clear the different goods by the customs authorities.

Is an AMS Carrier Required to Request a Permit to Transfer Electronically through AMS?

Yes. An AMS carrier has to request a permit to transfer electronically through AMS.

Such a permit is to allow the carrier to submit the right information on the AMS.

It also allows the carrier to share the information with all the parties involved in shipping your cargo.

To What Party does AMS Send the Electronic Local Transfer Authorization Message?

AMS sends an electronic local transfer authorization message to either you as the importer or your freight forwarder.

This allows for easy submission of the relevant information on the AMS.

Now, that’s everything you need to know about automated manifest system (AMS).

However, in case you have any questions, feel free to contact us right away.

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