Home » Customs & Trade, Maritime » AISL questions call to penalize lines for late e-CCM submission

THE Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) branded as “reckless” and “utterly lacking in due diligence” freight forwarders’ exclusive reliance on the notice of cargo arrival for the timely submission of their electronic consolidated cargo manifests (e-CCM).

In a recent joint letter to Customs deputy commissioner Atty. Reynaldo Nicolas, AISL president Patrick Ronas and general manager Max Cruz took exception to a recent statement by Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) president Nelson Mendoza asking the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to also penalize carriers if they supposedly cause the late submission of a forwarder’s e-CCM. Mendoza also asked the BOC to compel shipping lines to disclose their “approximate time of arrival” and to automatically provide arrival notification so forwarders can submit their e-CCM within deadline to avoid penalties.

Under BOC rules, shipping lines are required to submit their manifest 12 hours prior to vessel arrival and forwarders their e-CCM six hours prior to vessel arrival.

Notice of cargo arrival as value-added service

In their letter, a copy of which was provided to PortCalls, Ronas and Cruz pointed out “Mr Mendoza must be referring to the… Notice of Cargo Arrival which, he claims, is in some instances submitted after expiration of the 6-hour cut-off time for submission of the forwarders’ e-Consolidated Cargo Manifest. The sending of the Notice of Cargo Arrival after the expiration of the 6-hour cut-off, according to him, exposes the freight forwarders to penalties for late submission of their e-Consolidated Cargo Manifest. He now says that foreign carriers are partly liable and should be penalized because the ‘field is uneven’.”

The two officials, however, noted the “sending out of Notice of Cargo Arrival merely takes the form of a value-added service provided by carriers to their customers. There is no international shipping convention or conference that requires it, much less with the conditionality that it must be sent out to Freight Forwarders prior to their 6-hour cut-off time.”

Freight forwarders should not rely exclusively on the notice of cargo arrival for timely submission of the e-CCM, they said. “A responsible freight forwarder… could have avoided being penalized by taking any of the following steps: First, he should have closely coordinated with his counterpart agent/principal at the country of origin or exportation. This should have been his primary source of completed and accurate information; Second, he should have contacted his local Value-Added Service Provider (VASP) for shipment and arrival details; Thirdly, he should have called up the shipping line concerned for particulars; and Fourthly, he could have inquired with the Bay Service of Customs PID regarding the Notice of Vessel Arrival submitted by the carriers.”

Ronas and Cruz noted, “Relying therefore on the Notice of Cargo Arrival alone as basis for the submission of the e-CCM prior to the cut-off time, despite the availability of first-hand information at the Freight Forwarder’s disposal, can be considered reckless and utterly lacking in due diligence.

“More importantly, it needs to be emphasized that foreign carriers are required to submit the inward foreign manifest at least 12 hours prior to vessel arrival. Being staunch advocates of operational efficiency, foreign carriers complied with the national requirement without any slightest hesitation.”

Ronas and Cruz pointed out that originally, under Customs Administrative Order No. 1-2007, freight forwarders were also subjected to the same 12-hour cut-off rule now required of shipping lines but that this was later reduced to six hours by BOC for forwarders to address some technical issues.

“Thus, given a wider elbow room and flexibility to submit their e-CCM, the Freight Forwarders have all the opportunity to get the needed information through various sources. It is therefore highly inappropriate for Mr Nelson Mendoza to claim that foreign carriers should share the penalty because the ‘field is uneven’,” the two officials concluded.

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