274 - 12/02 - New Customs Regulation (24 Hour Rule) - USA


The new  “24-Hour Advance Vessel Manifest Rule” will be implemented on the 2nd December 2002, for details see :- http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2002_register&docid=02-27661-filed.

This new rule will require sea carriers, loading cargoes (with the exception of bulk cargoes – homogeneous cargo stowed loose in the hold and not containerised ) for the USA at foreign ports, to provide cargo manifests to the US Customs 24 hours PRIOR to SAILING. Any vessel which is commencing a voyage on or after the 2nd December 2002 MUST comply

In particular, the US Customs will require the manifest to include the following :Foreign port of departure; Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC), which will be assigned by US Customs ;Voyage number of the vessel; Date of scheduled arrival in the first US port; Number and quantities and packages from the bill of lading (ie the number of the lowest external packing units); First port of receipt by the vessel ocean carrier Precise description (or the Harmonised Tariff Schedule [HTS] numbers) and weight of the goods or, for a sealed container, the shipper's declared description and weight of the cargo. 

Generic descriptions, specifically FAK (freight of all kinds), general cargo and STC (said to contain) are not acceptable; Shippers' name and address, or an identification number, from all bills of lading; Consignees' name and address, or an identification number, from all bills of lading; Name of the vessel, national flag and vessel number; Foreign port where the cargo is taken on board; International hazardous goods code when such material is being shipped; Container number; Number of all seals affixed to the container. 

Those carriers carrying break bulk (non containerized but packaged or bundled) may be exempted from the rule but customs will evaluate each application on a case by case basis although companies will still have to file their cargo declarations 24 hours prior to ARRIVAL at the US port.  A comprehensive Question and Answer page on the rule can be found at


on the US Customs Service site www.customs.gov

Source of Information:  

US Federal Register Vol 67, No 211 (See attachment)

P J Bush (New Jersey)


Staff Author