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UPDATED: 5/7/05

New Regulation Regarding the Filing of Vessel Cargo Declarations - Federal Register 66318-66333

On October 31, 2002, the Customs Service issued a Final rule requiring the presentation of a detailed and accurate vessel Cargo Declaration no less than 24 hours in advance of lading aboard the vessel at a foreign port for transport to the United States.

In order to obtain a permit to unlade, the master of the vessel must file an acceptable Cargo Declaration. New Requirements: Carriers: The vessel carrier must submit the Cargo Declaration to Customs on CF 3102 or by electronic means via the AMS system not later than 24 hours prior to lading of the vessel.


An NVOCC that delivers cargo to the carrier for lading may file the cargo declaration directly through the AMS system, or disclose the information to the carrier for transmission to Customs. The NVOCC will be held responsible for timely filings, and will be held accountable as a carrier if the NVOCC participates in the AMS system.


A Carrier who does not submit Cargo Manifest in a timely manner is subject to civil penalties as follows: $5000 First offense and $10,000 each subsequent offense.

Manifest Requirements (Prior regulations did not require this information)

The following specific information must now be included in the manifest:
  • A precise description of the cargo or the 6 digit subheading HTS number.
  • Numbers and Quantities from the Carriers bill of lading to the lowestexternalpacking unit must be used. (i.e number of cartons not pallets)
  • The name of the Consignee must be identified. If the shipment is "TO ORDER" then the sellers name and address must be identified.
Terms such as "Freight All Kinds FAK", "General Cargo", or general descriptions will no longer be acceptable.

The granting of preliminary vessel entry is conditional based on electronic AMS filing of all manifest information required. Customs may delay the issuance of a permit to unlade the entire vessel until is has received a Cargo Declaration containing all of the required information, and it may deny a permit to unlade ANY CARGO for which it did not receive an advance Cargo Declaration 24 hours before lading.

As a courtesy to the trade, Customs will not begin enforcement of these new regulations until February 1, 2003. However this rule is in effect as of December 2, 2002.

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