Basics of direct filing customs entries and ISFs, part 3

Are you a US importer who is interested in direct filing your customs entries (and ISFs) but don’t know where to start?  Here’s the third installment of helpful FAQs that provide general guidance on self-filing with an approved ABI software provider such as CustomsNow™.  (See FAQs Part 1 and Part 2).

Who takes care of the additional steps when a Customs or other exam is required?

As a self-filer, you are responsible to arrange for the movement of the container and/or the devanning of the cargo. Therefore it is important to establish a relationship with a trucking company and Customs Exam Station (CES) within the port of entry.

How do I pay the collect freight charges and or submit an original bill of lading (OBL) to the carrier?

The payment and/or OBL can be submitted directly to the carrier or freight forwarder in the U.S. any time prior to the release of the freight.

Who arranges the delivery of the shipment after clearance?

Delivery can be arranged by either the forwarder, carrier or by the importer. In the CustomsNow™ system, a delivery order is auto-populated as the entry is created making it very simple to print, fax or email to the delivering carrier.

Will I have access to entry / liquidation status of my entries?

With 24/7 Customs access via ABI you’ll be able to not only query the entry and liquidation status of entries which you direct file, but on any of your entries regardless of by whom they were filed. The only thing needed is the complete entry number. The query returns details such as current status, scheduled liquidation date, duties and taxes.

What are the recordkeeping requirements for direct filers?

CBP’s recordkeeping requirements for importers are the same whether the entries are direct filed or filed by a broker. The importer is required to keep copies of all entries and related documents according to the regulations. With CustomsNow™you’ll be able to print or save to soft copy (with CBP approval) all documents, plus the documents are accessible for reprint at anytime in the future.

What if I decide I don’t want to direct file anymore?

There is no requirement from either CustomsNow™ or CBP to direct file once you’re set up. The filer code issued by CBP is yours whether it is used or not.

Benchmark study: more importers are self-filing

american shipper 2American Shipper’s sixth annual Import Operations and Compliance Benchmarking Study has found an increase in the number of shippers who self-file customs entries:

  • The number of “systems-based” respondents (companies that use at least one application to facilitate their import functions) that outsource their customs filings decreased from 72% to 53% since last year
  • 24% of systems-based respondents self-file (direct file) customs entries, up 10% from last year
  • 23% of systems-based respondents use a combination of direct filing and outsourcing customs filings, also up 10% from 2013
  • Even “manual’ respondents (companies that use other technologies outside of import functions) are direct filing

The benchmarking study is available here (registration required).


O Canada, what have you done to our back-up plan?


US importers fearing a West Coast port strike have seen their contingency plans start to unravel.

According to the Journal of Commerce, although contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association continue, some importers have attempted to divert cargo to Canadian ports to avoid delays during peak season in case of labor disruptions.  Unfortunately, the Port of Vancouver has become overwhelmed by the increased volume, and in response, large carriers such as Hapag-Lloyd have announced that the cargo will now be discharged in US West Coast ports after all.

The full JOC article can be found here (site registration required).


LA/LB Trade Forum on Broker Compliance Processes

On August 27, US Customs’ Field Office at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport will host a free trade forum on Entry and Broker Compliance procedures at the seaport covering:

Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy
Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy
  • Broker Licensing
  • Role of the Broker (responsible supervision)
  • Broker Visits
  • Best Practices for Cancellation Requests, TIBs, Resolution Requests

Details are in the attached bulletin.

LA14-017 Trade Forum on Entry and Broker Compliance Processes for the LALB Seaport

The latest on ACE

seal_aceHighlights from US Customs’ July 2014 ACE Monthly Trade Update:

The July 2014 ACE  update is available here.