Starting January 1, 2019, all commercial truck shipments containing Section 321 cargo must be accompanied by an advance electronic manifest filing under the guidelines in the Trade Act of 2002. Carriers who fail to comply with truck Section 321 requirements will receive a $5000 monetary penalty for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
Currently, Section 321 shipments are exempt from eManifest filing due to a decision made by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when the Trade Act was implemented.
However, the popularity of ecommerce and increase in the de minimis value have led to high volumes of shipments released and manifested as Section 321. Without an advance eManifest, CBP cannot evaluate risks associated with these shipments or conduct advance targeting within the Automated Targeting System (ATS). This leads to slower processing times and delays.
Submitting a Section 321 eManifest is very straightforward for those who are used to electronic filing with CBP. There are multiple ways to submit a Section 321 eManifest, including online through the ACE Web Portal or direct connectivity with CBP through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Businesses that prefer not to use the Portal must have an EDI system in-house or an approved third party partner providing connectivity or eManifest filing services.
November 26, 2018 - CBP will begin a phased period for noncompliance involving conveyances referred to secondary for processing.
January 1, 2019 onwards - carriers who fail to comply with the Section 321 eManifest requirement will receive a $5000 monetary penalty for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
Section 321 is a type of U.S. shipment that covers imported goods valued at $800 USD or less. Section 321 shipments are duty and tax free and include shipments in all modes of transport (highway, rail air and ocean). To be eligible as a Section 321 release, the goods must not exceed $800 in value and must not be one of several lots under a single order or contract. The goods must be imported into the U.S. by one person per day.
Before March 10, 2016, the de minimis value of non-dutiable goods was set at $200 max. It was raised to $800 to make trade faster, cheaper and more efficient. It also provides more value for companies that import small, single shipments on a regular basis. There are exemptions to Section 321 eligibility, even if the goods are valued at $800 or less:
Goods under $800 USD that are part of several lots under one order or contract
Goods that require customs inspection
Goods regulated by the FDA, FSIS, NHTSA, CPSA, or USDA
Goods subject to anti-dumping duty
Alcoholic beverages or perfumes containing alcohol
Cigars and cigarettes
Currently, Section 321 shipments do not require an eManifest filing if the carrier is only transporting Section 321 shipments. If the carrier is transporting Section 321 with other types of shipments, all shipments including Section 321 will require an eManifest. After confirming that the shipment is eligible to be released as Section 321, eManifest preparation is easy if you have all the documents (invoice, packing slips, etc.) at hand.
Each mode of transport has its own eManifest submission requirement. When importing via ocean, for example, you need additional information than what is required for a truck shipment. In addition to the eManifest, Importer Security Filing (10+2) and supporting documents (invoice, arrival notice) are required for cargo release.
For air shipments, you or your customs broker can inform the airline before arrival that the cargo is Section 321. Otherwise, you must present the air waybill and invoice to have the Section 321 released with customs officials when the cargo arrives at the airport.
Most Section 321 shipments are eventually delivered by truck to the customer. To facilitate cargo release, some businesses that ship large volumes of Section 321 goods become members of the Fast and Secure Trade (FAST) program. FAST is a trusted shipper program that pre-approves low-risk truck shipments from Canada and Mexico.
To be FAST-approved, the driver, carrier and each supply chain participant must meet eligibility requirements, pass background checks and be certified under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. At the border, dedicated lanes for FAST trucks expedite processing, so drivers can proceed directly to delivery.
It is the responsibility of the carrier to file advance eManifest data to CBP. For truck Section 321 shipments, the shipment is marked Section 321 in the ACE eManifest form. Required elements in the eManifest include shipment, carrier, crew and conveyance data.
Required shipment data include the shipment type, Shipment Control Number (SCN), shipper and consignee name and address, commodity information, detailed description of the goods, quantity, weight, hazmat codes, if applicable, and emergency contact info.
Required carrier and conveyance data elements include the trip number, Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA), truck type, unit number, VIN and license plate, driver and crew details (name, FAST ID, date of birth, gender, citizenship, driver’s license/NEXUS card, passport/visa).
Carriers and authorized filers have multiple ways of submitting Section 321 advance eManifest data to CBP: the ACE Secure Data Portal (trucks only), electronic data interchange (EDI), or a third party software/EDI service.
The ACE Secure Data Portal or ACE Portal is an online system that makes it easy for trade participants to communicate with CBP and other government agencies. The ACE Portal is free to use and accessible with a computer and Internet connection. It is designed primarily as a reporting and data management tool, but highway carriers can use the ACE Portal to file import eManifests and view historical data. ACE Portal account users can also respond to filing notices, view compliance issues, and analyze trends. The ACE Portal is for low-volume fling only, even for truck Section 321 eManifest submissions. EDI or a third party solution is recommended for high-volume filers.
Electronic data interchange (EDI) connects one computer directly to another for data exchange. EDI allows trade participants to communicate directly with CBP and other agencies. All eManifests (except for truck) must be transmitted to CBP via EDI. Filing is as simple as entering required data in the e-form and submitting to Customs. CBP will let you know whether the eManifest is accepted or rejected. EDI capability can be built in-house or outsourced to a third party.
Setting up an in-house EDI system can be expensive, considering IT, people, training and maintenance costs. A great alternative is third party eManifest filing or EDI connectivity services. Third party eManifest filing is suited for businesses of all sizes, as the pricing and solutions are flexible. CBP has published a list of approved IT service providers that you can choose from.
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is the leading CBP-approved provider of comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity services, including eManifest filing for Section 321 and other shipment types. GeTS can help you prepare for the new Section 321 eManifest rule with our flexible, cost-effective solutions.
GeTS eManifest solutions are available as full service eManifest filing, online and integrated services. With full service eManifest filing, you fax or email the required Section 321 documents to us and we will handle processing and submission to CBP. The standalone online eManifest service is ideal for on-the-go filing, while the integrated version is best for businesses with established ERP and other similar systems.