Upon request of many PortCalls readers, I am quoting below some of the frequently asked questions regarding implementation by Japan Customs of advance filing rules on maritime container cargo information. These rules will take effect March 2014.
The full version of the FAQs are available at http: //www.customs.go.jp/english/summary/advance. I encourage all readers to access the original information therein.
“We have received numerous questions at various briefing sessions about the Advance Filing
Rules on Maritime Container Cargo Information scheduled to enter into force in March 2014.
We provide our response of the most frequently asked questions to assist interested parties in fully understanding the rules.
Q 1: What is the reason for introducing the Advance Filing Rules on Maritime Container Cargo Information?
A 1: Realizing the need to have more stringent border security measures in place, we will introduce the rules to enhance our security level of international logistic up to the international standard and to prevent terrorism and transnational organized crimes by screening detailed maritime container cargo information received at an early stage.
Q 2: What kind of cargo is required to be filed?
A 2: Any maritime container cargo to be loaded on a foreign trading vessel intended for entry
into a port in Japan will be required to be filed. However, empty containers, and platform containers which don’t fall under the definition of containers provided for in Article 1(b) of
Customs Convention on Containers (Convention No. 6 of 1971), will be exempted. In addition, maritime container cargoes not to be discharged in Japan will also be exempted from being filed until the rules are well-established, at the beginning of the rules introduced.
Q 3: Is only maritime container cargo carried by a container vessel required to be filed?
A3: Regardless of the type of vessel, any maritime container cargo to be loaded on a foreign
trading vessel intended for entry into a port in Japan will be required to be filed. Therefore,
maritime container cargoes carried by other vessels than a container vessel will also be required to be filed.
Q 4: Who are obliged to file cargo information (hereinafter referred to as “filers”)?
A 4: Shipping companies will be obliged to file cargo information, who are the contractors of carriage and know the cargo information based on Ocean (Master) B/L level at the time of departure from a port of loading on a foreign trading vessel intended for entry into a port
in Japan. In addition, consignors such as a NVOCC, who know the cargo information based on House B/L level at the time of departure, will also be obliged to file cargo information. However, until the rules are well-established, at the beginning of the rules introduced, those consigners who are the contractor of consigned freight forwarding business with the shipping companies will be obliged to file cargo information.
Q 5: Do service providers become the filers?
A 5: In order to comply with the rules, the filers can send cargo information through the
service providers, etc., who are permitted to connect with Nippon Automated Cargo and
Port Consolidated System (NACCS), without entering into a direct service agreement with
NACCS Center. Therefore, service providers are merely considered as a provider offering connection services, etc. when the filers send cargo information through NACCS, and they don’t
become the filers themselves.
Q 6: Can shipping agents file cargo information?
A 6: Shipping agents can file cargo information on behalf of the filers if an appropriate contract
is concluded with the filers. Given the contractual relationship with the filers, when the
shipping agents file cargo information to play the same role of providing connection services, etc. as service providers, they need to use the Reporter ID of the filers in filing to NACCS. On the other hand, when they file cargo information as filers, they need to use their own ID. (Shipping agents may be penalized in case of overdue filing.)
Q 7: When is the deadline of filing of cargo information?
A 7: In principle, the deadline is 24 hours before departure from a port of loading because the
filers and Japan Customs can confirm the date and time of the departure. However, in the light of the current circumstances in logistics, in case that relaxed measures apply to certain coastal routes departing from ports of loading in Japan’s neighboring countries/areas based on the Pre-arrival filing (the current rules) before entry into a port in Japan, the deadline will be extended by departure from a port of loading. When the filing is made 24 hours before loading of a cargo on a vessel, shipping companies can receive an advance notice before loading of the cargo and stop loading the cargo on a vessel.
Q 8: Why isn’t the deadline 24 hours before loading of cargo like in other foreign countries?
A 8: It is difficult for the filers and Japan Customs to precisely know the date and time of
loading of container cargoes on a vessel. Therefore, the date and time of departure from
a port of loading, which the filers and Japan Customs can confirm, is adopted for the basis of the time of the filing.
Q 9: What is the reason for adopting relaxed measures for the deadline of filing?
A 9: Given the current circumstances in logistics, in response to strong demands for creating
relaxed measures by public comments, etc., we decided to adopt relaxed measures for the deadline of filing concerning some shipping routes within the seas around Japan to the minimal extent necessary, which are difficult to be modified to adjust a form of logistics to the new system by the rules enter into force but are able to be ensured a certain level of security assurance in conducting risk analysis by Japan Customs, until the rules are well-established
Leo V. Morada is a domain expert on IT applications in Philippine port operations with 25 years’ senior IT management experience implementing technology solutions in port operations, electronic transactions with customs & port authority, and air/sea port community system applications. He is CEO of Cargo Data Exchange Center, Inc, a customs-accredited Value Added Service Provider. He can be contacted at email@example.com.