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Customs tightens rules to avoid entry of high-risk cargoes into PH



By Betheena Unite

Shipping lines and airlines are now required to submit advance cargo manifest to the Bureau of Customs in a bid to protect the country’s borders from the entry of high-risk cargoes.

Cargo manifest or Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) contains the detailed list of cargo on board the vessel or aircraft including information on the goods such as transport document numbers, consignors, consignees, marks and numbers, number and kind of packages, weight, description, quantity of the goods, and the destination.



Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 6-2018 signed by Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena on May 7 mandated the electronic submission of Portable Document Format (PDF) file of the advance manifest, bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, stowage plan, container discharging list, load port survey report, and supplemental cargo manifest to the Bureau’s Advanced Manifest System.

According to the Customs bureau, the advance information of cargoes destined to the Philippines will help the bureau track and trace the movement of cargoes from the port of origin and evaluate the nature and degree of risk of incoming shipments.

“The new guidelines on cargo manifest will allow a qualified importer to process in advance the goods declaration prior to the arrival of the shipment and pre-assess the customs duties, taxes, and other charges as well as other needed documentary requirements,” Lapena said.

“More so, the cargo information will be used to profile the risk of cargoes while increasing the efficiency of the clearance process of low-risk shipments. Thus, the release of legitimated cargoes will be expedited,” Lapena added.

Under the CMO, vessels with transit time from the port of origin to the port of entry of at least 72 hours, the shipping company, non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC), freight forwarder, cargo consolidator, or their authorized agents must electronically submit the cargo manifest, consolidated cargo manifest (CCM), stowage plan, and container discharging list within 24 hours before the arrival at the port of entry. If transit is less than 72 hours, the cut-off time is 12 hours prior to the arrival of the vessel.

Further, aircraft with port of loading is within Asia, the cargo manifest and CCM must be filed one hour before the arrival of the aircraft. For origin outside Asia, the cut-off time is four hours before the aircraft arrives.

The bureau warned that failure to transmit the electronic manifest within the required time will be penalized with a fine of not less than P 100,000 but not more than P300,000.

They are also required to submit the electronic copy of the master bill of lading/airway bill and house bill of lading/airway bill, commercial invoice, and packing list to the Advanced Manifest System at least 24 hours before the arrival of the vessel or aircraft.

The bureau’s accredited cargo surveying company must also submit the load port survey report at least 24 hours before the arrival of the vessel.

The memorandum also provides that cargoes not listed in the IFM but are recorded in the stowage plan must be filed through a supplemental manifest not later than 48 hours from the date of discharge of the last package from the vessel. While those not listed in both IFM and stowage plan the prescribed cut-off time is 24 hours from the date of discharge of the last package.

Supplemental manifest of aircraft must be submitted not later than 24 hours from the discharge of the last package.

Shipments not included in the manifest and the supplemental manifest, the bureau warned, are considered un-manifested and shall undergo seizure and forfeiture proceedings of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

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