A container of whisky was booked from Felixstowe to New York. Since 2002 it has been a requirement that carriers must provide full details of all containerised cargo shipped to a US port from a foreign port to the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) via the Automated Manifest System (AMS) 24 hours before the container is loaded on the ship.
The cargo was booked by the agent’s Glasgow office and was inadver tently allocated a booking reference that had already been used for a previous booking of whisky for the same ship.

Consequently, when the documentation clerk attempted to input details of the container in order to issue a bill of lading, the computer system indicated that the booking had already been allocated a bill of lading number. The documentation clerk, believing this to be a duplicated booking for the same container, did not enter the details of the container and the cargo details were transmitted via the AMS without the inclusion of this container. When the ‘shipped on board’ list was received from the port of loading it was discovered that the container had been shipped un-manifested.
The CBP will not allow cargo to enter the U.S. if it has not been declared properly and the carrier is not allowed to issue a manifest corrector.  For tunately the ship called at Hamburg before it sailed for
New York and it was possible to remove the container at that por t. Substantial costs were incurred for re-stowage, storage, loss of container hire, etc.

However, if the mistake had not been discovered and the unmanifested container removed before the ship was ready to berth at the US port the consequences could have been much worse.

The ship would certainly have been fined, and the cargo could have been confiscated. In a worst case scenario the ship could have been refused permission to enter port.

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