VAGUE MERCHANDISING CARGO DESCRIPTIONS

We would like to bring to your attention the following announcement from US Customs and Border Protection dept highlighting the focus and importance of accurate cargo descriptions. ACL has already started to see rejections of manifests due to incomplete/unclear cargo descriptions even when the same description had previously been accepted. We remind all Customers of the need to provide clear and precise cargo descriptions on their shipping instructions and include a valid HS code.


CARGO SYSTEMS MESSAGING SERVICE: CSMS # 60011750 – Announcement of Vague Merchandise Description Cargo Messages


On April 1, 2024, CBP will nationally implement cargo messaging to communicate with the entry filer on shipments that have vague noncompliant cargo descriptions.

19 CFR § 4.7a, 122.48a, 123.91, 123.92 and 128.21 require a precise, or specific, description of the merchandise. Carriers and other parties electing to file electronic cargo information data to CBP are required to provide a precise description of the cargo.

Specifically, CBP is aiming to address vague cargo descriptions including, but not limited to, “gift,” “daily necessities,” “accessories,” “parts,” and “consolidated.” “Consolidated” is only acceptable at the master bill level.

In most cases, messages will be sent via ACE Cargo Release after release of the cargo. Brokers and importers are expected to process these messages and work to correct the issue with the shipper and bill of lading issuer for compliance on future shipments.

Below is an example of a cargo message for a de minimis shipment transmitted with a vague cargo description:

[email protected] Cargo description unacceptably vague. A precise description is required.

Brokers and Freight Forwarders who self-file House Bills are held to the same standard as carriers and are expected to screen data for compliance with cargo declaration regulations. The entry filer is expected to review the cargo messages for compliance when concerns are identified. If the entry filer and bill of lading filer are the same, corrective action is expected immediately. If CBP identifies any enforcement concerns, CBP may take additional actions.

For general questions, or concerns about specific vague description cargo messages, please email [email protected]

Please remember cargo descriptions, SHOULD:

• allow any reader to easily identify exactly what the cargo is.
• In the case of machinery or parts – should identify the type of machinery and what equipment the parts are for

SHOULD NOT:
• be taken purely from a commercial invoice.
• feature product names (unless accompanied by the correct cargo description).

We would remind Customers that the Advanced Cargo Manifest is a security protocol, hence the need for accurate and clear descriptions as well as clear and obvious party identities (Shipper/Consignee/Notify etc). Any vagueness will attract more in-depth scrutiny.

If you are unsure the attached link to the EU guidelines should provide cargo descriptions that are also acceptable in North America:

guidance_acceptable_goods_description_en.pdf (europa.eu)