Why electronic cargo manifest? In the United States for instance, the government requires certain data elements before cargo is loaded on-board at a foreign port. These importation fillings are called Importer Security Filling (ISF). In a similar arrangement, the federal government of Nigeria has directed shipping lines to electronically transmit manifest as soon as the vessel departs last port of call.
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WHAT IS CARGO MANIFEST?
Have you tried boarding a bus for a long distance journey, and the bus managers make a list of passengers on-board and their luggage? This kind of listing of passengers and their detail is called passengers manifest. Similarly, cargo manifest is a listing of cargoes and physical detail on-board a vessel. Cargo manifest is usually prepared by the ship’s brokers from different bill of lading of the cargoes in the vessel.
WHAT ARE THE CONTENTS OF A CARGO MANIFEST?
A cargo manifest may sometimes mean the same thing as bill of lading. This is often the case when the vessel contains just one cargo. However, a cargo manifest is different from bill of lading at least in purpose. The bill of lading focuses more on ownership, and thus is a legal document. Whereas, a cargo manifest emphasises physical or visible part of the cargo, and is often notarial like deeds. The cargo manifest contains dimensional information such as the cargo weight and cargo size.
Difference between Bill of Lading and Cargo Manifest is clearer with an LCL or groupage shipment. In an LCL for instance, different cargoes owned by different forwarders mean different bills of lading. However, only one Cargo manifest is required for the vessel carrying such a groupage container or cargoes. The case is different for vessel with some dangerous cargoes.
WHY ELECTRONIC CARGO MANIFEST?
The order to transmit electronic cargo manifest to Nigeria Customs is by no means new. Since 16th October, 2009, such directive has been in existence, but in more like in principle than practice. The Nigeria Customs Service wants Airlines and shipping lines to provide manifest electronically from a central server or hub. Why must cargo manifest be transmitted electronically? Why not place vessels under legal obligation to carry manifests on-board? The answer lies in the fact that we are living in information age, where technology means speed and ease of doing business. The following are some of the reasons for the e-manifest:
- The electronic manifest or advanced manifest enables government agencies know cargo detail and risks before arrival.
- The e-manifest means that the country does business in line with global best practices.
- Ease of doing business and trade facilitation
- Ensure that risk management is profiled and separated on time before the ship’s arrival.
- The measure, would address delays in cargo placement and offloading.
- Also, freight forwarders and clearing agents, would clear low-risk, legitimate trade from the ports more efficiently.
- Lastly, e-manifest helps the Nigeria Customs to monitor the import duty scheme.
HOW DO AIRLINES AND SHIPPING LINES HAVE ACCESS TO ELECTRONIC CARGO MANIFEST PLATFORM?
To get access to the Nigeria Custom e-manifest central server, individual airline or shipping line must apply for it. The following are documents required for e-manifest platform request:
- Filled “EMI-User_Connectivity_Request_Form.doc” forms.
- Certificate of Incorporation.
- Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) registration for airline.
- A written application has to be sent to the CAC of the major airport of activity for the airline in Nigeria. This letter has to be signed by the CAC and joined to the other documents to process the application.
- NPA registration for shipping line
- Current NIMASA registration for shipping line
Click here to begin application.
E-MANIFEST: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF IMPORTERS/SHIPPERS?
The shipping line or airline has the obligation to comply with the Nigeria Customs directive on e-manifest. However, as an importer, you need to hasten the shipping line to urgently submit manifest on time to enable cargo clearance. Again, ensure that Form M number is added to the bill of lading or air waybill before submitting e-manifest to Customs.
The cargo manifest indicates nationality of goods, and serves to proof that no cargo meant for belligerent persons or group is enclosed in the vessel. Electronic manifest helps ensure security risk assessment before the ship and the cargoes arrival. Furthermore, electronic manifest addresses delays in cargo placement and offloading. Importers must follow up to see that Form M number is added on the manifest as well as air waybill/bill of lading before e-manifest submission to the Nigeria Customs Services. In this way, the Customs is able to monitor the import duty scheme.