AMS in the Shipping Industry: A Complete Guide

Importance of the AMS in shipping

AMS in shipping is an electronic system created by US Customs to transmit data across various air and ocean systems for crossing the US border. All shipments intended for the USA or using the US vessel routes need to be filed on the AMS for approval and customs clearances by the US CBP (Customs and Border Protection). If you are a shipper or logistics service provider, you must go through this process for faster and easier customs clearances at the US border. After receiving the information and documents, the US authorities go through them to check if they comply with all standards and regulations for import and export in trade. It also allows the US CBP to be prepared for inspection and assessment of incoming shipments. Let us learn more about the use of AMS in shipping. 

What is the Automated Manifest System (AMS) in shipping? 

AMS in shipping refers to a computerized system for processing shipping documents with cargo specifications. An automated manifest system helps in information transmission and was launched by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2004. Using an automated manifest system, shippers can electronically submit detailed information about the cargo being shipped beforehand to minimize the time taken at ports for customs clearances at the last minute. The information stated by the shipper must have an accurate account of the cargo and its nature.  

Shippers utilize AMS (Automated Manifest System) when incorporating the USA into their shipping route or when the incoming goods are intended for shipment within the country. In this case, the shipper can declare the cargo specifications 24 hours before moving from the loading port or port of origin to either reach the US or cross through the country. 

What is the purpose of AMS in shipping? 

The function of AMS in shipping is to allow consistent shipping and increase supply chain agility by clearing all documentation within time. Let us learn more reasons for using automated manifest systems by shippers engaged in international trade. 

  • The aim of AMS in shipping is to manage shipments from different countries skillfully into the USA. 
  • It allows shipping carriers, freight forwarders, and shippers to submit detailed information electronically about cargo and its shipment, preventing documentation-related challenges. 
  • Shippers can use AMS in shipping to notify the US CBP about the incoming cargo before reaching the port. It gives the authorities sufficient time to review the shipment and minimizes the time taken for customs clearances when the shipment arrives at the US port. 
  • Prior filing of details related to the cargo allows the concerned authorities to inspect high-risk shipments and analyze any potential security risks or failures related to regulatory compliance. 
  • By reducing manual documentation and inspection of every shipment, automated manifest systems help increase the supply chain agility. 
  • It also contributes to border security by allowing authorities to identify and resolve risks proactively.  

The importance of AMS in shipping is immense, and therefore, it has been proactively adopted in the USA for border protection and to improve supply chain efficiency. 

What are the key features of the Automated Manifest System? 

The features of AMS (automated manifest system) in shipping are as follows-  

  1. Automated notifications– The authorities inspect the information and documents submitted on the AMS. Shippers or concerned logistics service providers are notified and alerted if the submitted information requires additional documents or further inspection actions. The status of the process can be viewed online by the shipper. 
  2. Integration with other systems– The intermodal transport of cargo requires coordination between various modes of transport such as ship, air, rail, or road. AMS can be easily integrated with other systems to exchange information between government and private organizations to organize systematic trade and seamless shipping. This feature of the automated manifest system allows interconnectedness and boosts supply chain efficiency. 
  3. Secure access– Since huge chunks of sensitive information are stored on AMS, it is essential to offer data security to its clients. AMS in shipping offers top-tier privacy by restricting access and ensuring that only authorized individuals can submit or modify data. 

Who files AMS in shipping? 

US customs accept an automated manifest system to minimize the time taken in offline security checks. The process must be initiated by collecting and sending information and documents required for the purpose. When submitting shipping details to the authorities using an automated manifest system, the following individuals or companies may file the documents. 

  • Shipping carrier 
  • Non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) 
  • Freight forwarders  

It is necessary to submit a detailed list containing the information given below whenever a shipment is meant for discharge in the US or for all cargo shipments that are meant to pass using a vessel route of the USA. 

Details included in the automated manifest system 

When filing for AMS customs clearances in shipping, shippers, 3PL service providers, or shipping carriers must submit the following details. 

  • Bill of lading (BL) number 
  • Name of the shipper and consignee 
  • Address of the shipper and consignee 
  • 3PL or 4PL service provider’s name and address 
  • Shipping specifications- Shipping line, vessel name, schedule, shipping route
  • Cargo specifications- Type, weight, and size 
  • Number of packages  
  • Container number and container seal number  

These AMS customs requirements require shippers to provide shipment specifications for inspection and timely clearances. It is essential that the designated individual or company accurately declares all these details to avoid shipment delays or extra fees failing to meet the stated details. 

What are the benefits of using AMS in logistics and supply chain management? 

The advantages of using AMS in logistics are as follows- 

  1. Increases supply chain transparency– The electronic system allows concerned parties to submit information on AMS and track clearance status. This way, if any additional documents are required, they can be provided on time. 
  2. Improves border protection– The primary advantage of AMS in the supply chain is to protect the USA border by assessing and inspecting all goods in detail. Manual inspection is time-consuming, so an electronic alternative helps improve the customs clearance process. 
  3. Enhances accuracy– Manual data entry may lead to errors, and there are different formats across the globe. AMS in shipping is a standard platform for organizing and filing all information without discrepancies. 
  4. Risk assessment– AMS helps provide all information before the shipment arrives. Using AMS, the concerned authorities can conduct proactive analyses to check for regulatory compliance and security threats and check for goods not approved to pass US borders. 
  5. Strategic planning– All data submitted by the shipping carrier or logistics providers is stored for future data analytics. The historical data helps check for various trends and insights that can help in the strategic planning of supply chain management and border protection.  

These are the benefits of AGM in shipping that allow the US CBP to conduct a safe trade and allow shippers to improve the pace of customs clearances by submitting all information before the arrival of the shipment at the US border. 

LOTUS Containers is a global marketer of shipping container solutions. We lease and sell a wide range of shipping containers, including reefer containers and 53ft intermodal containers

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