Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » PH forwarders’ group seeks changes to rule on late submission of manifest

The Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association says the late submission of consolidated cargo manifest should not be subject to Bureau of Customs penalties if this is due to computer breakdown, power failure and technical problems of the BOC or force majeure.

The Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) wants streamlined procedures on the imposition of penalties for late submission of cargo consolidated manifests.

At last week’s Transport Security seminar organized by PISFA in cooperation with PortCalls at the Manila Diamond Hotel, PISFA president Irene Maguiat-Tan said forwarders suffer from additional costs because the rules are unclear and arbitrarily imposed by Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials.

The association will get the chance to push for changes when its board meets with Customs commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon tomorrow (Dec 13).

According to PortCalls sources, PISFA will specifically lobby for the schedule of fines to be imposed on a per manifest file and not on a per bill of lading.

The late submission should also not be subject to imposition of penalties if due to computer breakdown, power failure and technical problems of the BOC’s electronic-to-mobile system or force majeure.

The association will also push for the definition of “material” against “administrative” amendment as current rules are confusing: Section 4.4 of Customs memorandum order 37-2009 on manifest amendment does not contain specific details on procedures for the request and approval of amendments. On the other hand, Section 4.3.1.4 of CMO 23-2011 clearly defines amendments into two categories — material and administrative.

A specific timeframe for approval of manifest amendment (for example during the next working day after submission to the District Collector of formal written request for manifest amendment) should also be in place, according to PISFA.

“The current system is really affecting all aspects of our processes,” Manguiat-Tan said.

At the moment, shipping lines are required to submit their manifest 12 hours before vessel arrival and freight forwarders their consolidated cargo manifest, six hours before vessel arrival.

Penalties

Late filing of manifests comes with a penalty of P10,000 for the first offense, P20,000 for the second offense, and P30,000 for the third offense. But forwarders claim the penalty seems fixed at P30,000 even if they are armed with justification for the delay, signed and approved by authorized BOC personnel.

The group had already earlier asked the BOC, under the previous administration of former commissioner Napoleon Morales, to allow parallel filing of electronic manifests with shipping line manifests to avoid payment of late penalties.

PISFA said the move will allow forwarders to submit their manifests ahead of carriers’ manifests. The latter’s late submission has been cited as one of the reasons for forwarders’ subsequent late submission of their manifests.

Even much earlier, PISFA proposed — but without success — the submission of the manifest within the first six working hours after arrival of the vessel under the following circumstances — if the vessels arrive after regular working hours (i.e., after 1700 hours of the day and prior to 0800 hours of the following day); and during weekends and on long or extended holidays.

Considering some vessels arrive during nighttime, the association pointed out there is no time for forwarders to prepare the submissions except by extending work hours and by incurring additional cost in equipment and labor.

Photo by Many Computers In Internet Cafe by Stuart Miles http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664

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