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Automated Manifest System (AMS) For Shipping

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

automated manifest system

In the world of exemplary technological advancements, digitalization has its own role to play. The job of exporters, importers, freight forwarders, ocean carriers, NVOCC, and transportation clients has become easy with real-time tracking shipping solutions & smart integrations. As a result, it's the right time to seek expertise from Business Intelligence solutions & smart shipping systems.

Our expertise in handling the import/export records comes in the form of getting access to -

  • Reliable trading partners or suppliers

  • Monitor trading activities of your competitors

  • Profitable trade lanes by avoiding wastage of time

Systems like Automated Manifest System (AMS) in place were launched by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). The purpose of this system is to seek details in the form of AMS filing with detailed information about the shipments. This data from customs is later utilized to create BI solutions & provide expertise.

So, read more to find out everything about this system - how it saves time & makes documentation easy.

Table Of Contents

What’s Automated Manifest System (AMS)?

An Automated Manifest System (AMS) is a system launched by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). It is to electronically transmit the information as a part of the shipping process. But, this information is related to verifying cargo details to combat any potential security threats.

The following system was incorporated in the year 2004. It is also directly linked to the US Customs Department for quick transmission of the information (AMS Filings). Owing to such cruciality, this is only done to avoid any sort of delay in the process.

As a rule, forwarders are required to declare detailed information about the cargo 24 hours prior to loading & leaving the port. And, AMS shipment tracking system transmits this information before any ship makes its way into a port. Although, the arrangement is quite simple. Any ship passing through the US waters has to just declare information related to the loaded cargo before 24 hours.

An AMS code is a code that is allotted to differentiate a particular cargo in the system. Besides, the AMS system is meant to handle the electronic transmission of information by other means as well. This includes - by sea, air, rail & road.

Who Has To File AMS?

AMS filings can be filed by the following parties prior to 24 hours of the vessel loading -

  1. Your freight forwarder (if it as per the contract)

  2. Your supplier (if it as per the contract)

  3. You yourself via software!

The prime condition only requires that the details of the cargo arriving in the country must be made available within the period. And, any individual making such imports becomes liable to file this information via AMS filings. Failing to do so or giving wrong information can result in a penalty or detainment of goods.

Key Benefits Of Automated Manifest System

A system like AMS has several benefits making it a means of efficient transmission of information electronically. By not only allowing faster processing of information, have a look at some of the other benefits -

1. Reduced Paperwork

AMS has minimized the need for filing paperwork thereby making it easy to file documents electronically. This also fastens the entire process making it simple to review & analyze the information quickly.

2. Improved Accuracy

AMS system has also reduced the chances of committing errors while filing the documents. Since there is limited information to be put in now with an additional penalty on delivering incorrect details, you ought to fill in the right details.

3. Saves Time

AMS fast processes save a lot of time for the parties involved in the shipping activity. It makes the job of importers easy by filing details very easily in a precise manner. This in turn reduces unnecessary paperwork. On the other hand, for the customs department, it becomes effortless to analyze entries arriving at the U.S ports.

4. Better Recognition

AMS systems help the customs department to get to know about the shipment in advance. In case of any hazardous products, the party can be careful in handling these goods against potential dangers.

5. Reduced Procedures

This eliminates the diplomatic tension between the country of origin & destination. This system helps attain faster custom clearance by tracking cargo & the documentation procedures of the goods. Thereby, making sure that there is less tension amongst the countries & reduced procedures.

automated manifest system

AMS Customs Requirements and Checklist

Here’s the complete requirement & checklist for a complete AMS -

  1. Details (name & address or identification number assigned by CBP) of the shipper & consignee

  2. Details of cargo - piece name, number & weight

  3. Details of the carrier - country of documentation, voyage number, ship name, ship’s official number & (Standard Carrier Alpha Code) SCAC

  4. Details of the port - where cargo is loaded

  5. The first foreign port where the possession of the cargo is handed

  6. The last foreign port before the shipment reaches the U.S.

  7. Internationally acknowledged hazardous cargo code

  8. The container number

  9. The container seal number - The serial number of the last seal made at the time of loading

  10. The expected date of the arrival of cargo to the U.S.

What’s an AMS Filing Fee?

An AMS filing fee is a fee associated with filing the details of the cargo on the Automated Manifest System. This fee is charged for a seamless procession of your shipment into the U.S. The amount that you pay is varied as per the cargo’s (BOL) bill of landing or (AWB) Air Waybill. However, it is important to make sure that the fee is either paid by you or the supplier in time.

Automated Manifest System Process - How To Do It?

The process of filing AMS includes submitting information related to the cargo in advance via an online portal. This is usually done by you or your authorized representative depending upon your contract with them.

There are two methods of filing AMS -

  1. Cargo reporting

  2. Conveyance Report

Cargo reporting must be done 24 hours before the shipment is loaded from the original port. This directly comes under AMS filing. However, if the shipment is in transit, you must file an ISF (Import Security Filing). You can do it by attaching two additional documents while cargo reporting. On the other hand, a conveyance report is submitted prior to the shipment reaching the U.S by the forwarder. This report is generated with the help of a bill of landing & a commercial invoice.

Result Of Not Filling The Correct Information on AMS

There are possible consequences of not filing the correct information on AMS. This can result in -

  1. Customer authorities seizing the shipment goods & further inspecting for security threats

  2. Imposing a monetary fine as per the type of information wrongly put in or missed out

  3. A halt on the goods on reaching it to the U.S. This is done for a detailed inspection & seeking the right information of the cargo.

  4. A financial impact - The detained goods can cost you financially as they may not reach their final destination in time.

  5. This can also lead to civil tensions or diplomatic conflicts between the two countries involved in the trade.

Result Of Not Complying With AMS

Likewise, there are several consequences of not complying with the Automated Manifest System or with the 24-Hour Rule. From not filing the cargo information prior to 24 hours or filing incorrect information, every action will have a repercussion. The customs department can hold the shipment for further investigation or impose a penalty of USD 10,000 for each breach. In other cases, goods may not be allowed to enter the U.S. & probably be sent back to the original destination.

In short, the following actions can be taken in case of a violation -

  1. Refuse to accept a vessel manifest

  2. Impose a fine

  3. Delivers a “Loading banning message” - refuse to release the shipment

  4. Detaining a ship - In case of failing to provide a specified vessel manifest asked for within 24 hours

Why Choose GLS Automated Manifest System?

automated manifest system

GLS Automated Manifest System comes with a variety of real-time solutions. To know more, have a look at the following benefits & decide for yourself.

  • Real-Time Tracking/Updates - To monitor the custom clearance & to the status updates of the individual shipment

  • Accompanied Filing Services - With experience & expertise of years, we accompany you throughout the shipment process at each step.

  • Independent Filing Services - You can file your AMS filings on the GLS Automated Manifest System completely by yourself too!

  • Robust API Integrations - With custom border security systems & other systems to link information to the concerned parties (as specified) & the necessary interaction.

  • Controlled User Access - Controlled security & limited user access for information privacy.

  • Linked To US Customs - Directly linked with the US Customs, seeking all the updates automatically via the manifest submission.

  • Simple-User Interface - Easy to use, with reduced procedures in comparison with the traditional methods.

  • 24/7 Global Service - Web-based software to file from any part of the world with 24/7 faster processes.

  • Secured Network - Looks after the privacy concerns of the parties involved by transmitting the details via a secured network

In case you're willing to file your own AMS filings or hire your authorized representative to do so, GLS Automated Manifest System will always back you up with the kind of privacy this information requires for quick transmission. Apart from it, its simple user interface sets it apart in terms of capturing the clearance status of shipments & API integrations. Its unique features make it perfect for ocean carriers, freight forwarders, shipping companies, & NYOCC.


1. Who files the Automated manifest system?

Any party willing to import goods via entering or passing through U.S waters has to file in detailed cargo manifest. This detailed information is retrieved by AMS filings through electronic transmission of information. Since this system is linked to the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP), providing such information is mandatory for you or your authorized representative. Make sure that it is filed 24 hours before loading the cargo.

2. What are AMS documents?

AMS documents are detailed information related to the cargo shipments required to be submitted to U.S. customs. These documents describe all the goods departed from a ship as per the security & safety concerns. The role of the AMS is to upload these documents before the ship departs from the original loading port. The system makes sure that there is no delay in the transmission of the cargo detailing.

3. When should AMS be filed?

As per the U.S Customs Department, AMS filings should be strictly put in place prior to 24 hours of the cargo loading from the origin country. Failing to comply with the 24-Hour Rule can result in a penalty or detainment of goods.

4. Is ISF & AMS the same?

Automated Manifest System (AMS) requires you to submit cargo-related documents prior to 24 Hour Rule before sailing. It is normally done to report cargo to the destination customs as a part of the process. Whereas, the Import Security Filing (ISF) is filed in addition to the AMS. It is a step ahead of filing two additional documents by the party present at the destination customs.

It is just like a process of appeasement or settlement between the two parties marking the acceptance of the registration of the cargo. However, this is usually submitted prior to the shipment reaching the U.S by the forwarder.

5. What is the AMS bill of lading?

A Bill Of Lading (BOL) is a legal document issued by the carrier or its agent that includes the detail of the shipment. These details include the type of cargo, its quantity, & the final destination. It is a document between the shipper & carrier to acknowledge the receipt of freight in a good condition.


automated manifest system

GLS Automated Manifest System not only holds the power to make the documentation process easy at your fingertips. Instead, it also takes charge of the privacy concerns of the parties involved making it secure at each step. Moreover, we are in a position to create Business Intelligence solutions for our clients that holds the potential to help them a lot.

You can seek the most profitable trade lanes & details of suppliers from our experience of handling such data. This in turn has come under the attention of a lot of competing companies.

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