Complying with Customs Regulations

Descartes to offer service for compliance with Container Security Initiative's manifest messaging requirements

Waterloo, Canada  January 9, 2003  With the U.S. Customs Service Container Security Initiative (CSI) set to impose new ocean manifest messaging requirements on companies importing goods into the United States, logistics solution provider Descartes Systems Group said it is working on a new product intended to help companies comply with the new regulations.

CSI, a program launched last February in the wake of the September terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, requires ocean carriers and non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) to submit detailed shipment manifest information 24 hours prior to loading at a foreign port. The new regulation became effective on December 2, with active enforcement scheduled to begin on February 1. (See related story for more information on CSI requirements.)

In response to demand from customers and their trading partners (NVOCCs, freight forwarders, shippers and ocean carriers) to comply with the CSI initiative, Descartes said its new offering, Automated Manifest Service, will address the market need for ocean manifest messaging under the new requirements.

The provider is developing and testing the service in conjunction with the U.S. Customs Service to enable trading partners to meet the requirements irrespective of their current systems and sophistication of technology.

Since this ruling affects a wide range of participants in global shipping with a range of technology capabilities, Descartes says it is developing three options for compliance. A basic service will ensure the accurate and timely transmission of the maritime cargo manifest in CAMIR or ANSI X12 formats.

For users employing differing formats, Descartes will offer manifest translation services to ensure that the current manifest formats can be converted and transmitted based on messaging requirements. Finally, for those with more limited technologies and without value-added-network services  primarily small or medium NVOCCs  DSG is developing a Web form entry mechanism for translation and transmission of the manifest to Customs.

Descartes said it currently serves upwards of 150 NVOCCs, 13 of the top 15 third party logistics (3PL) companies worldwide, and 11 of the top 15 ocean carriers, and that its new services will leverage the provider's experience working with these customers.

Pricing for the new product will be based on a combination of set-up charges, a fee for message transmission and a usage-based tiered fee for the user accessing the system through a Web form interface.

The provider says that it expects the new service to be generally available in time for the CSI compliance deadline.