Port congestion has recently become a critical issue with ocean carriers deciding to split bills after or on arrival. To streamline release for such shipments, the Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association (LACBFFA) has been working with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to review the processing of split bills.

The collaboration has resulted in Ocean Split Guidance for carriers as below:

Ocean Split Guidance

In some instances, carriers may have to make multiple stops depending on the situation at the terminals. The multiple stops to discharge cargo are sometimes at the same port. Occasionally, this may result in the split of Multi container consignments where one or several containers are discharged at one terminal and the rest at another. Customs brokers often learn of this after the filing of original entry and release.
What usually results is:
1. The carrier will issue a second bill of lading that covers the second portion of the shipment discharged at the terminal for which it was not intended. They will also edit the original bill of lading to show that the first portion of the shipment was less than was first declared.
2. The first portion of the bill of lading will show a full release for the shipment making it impossible to pick up.
3. Carriers will inform brokers that they will need to have new separate entries with a corrected entry for the old bill of lading. The new bill of lading that covers the second part of the consignment will require a new separate entry too.

How to Comply with the New Guidance

Updating the Bill Of Lading
A bill of lading update can be used to correct the original entry.
1. The additional bill of lading will need to be added to the entry in addition to any new and separate house bill of lading.
2. Submit a Split Shipment Release Code 2: This is usually a Special Permit request that asks for incremental cargo release under Immediate Delivery procedures. It is important to note that the dates of entry need to be set to the date of the release of the first portion of the split shipment.

PS: Brokers have to confirm the arrival information is a match for the true cartons counts upon split before they make any corrections to the original entry.

Note that:
Brokers can file their corrected bill of lading entries up to fifteen days after the goods have been released. If the data for the changes in the entry is filed fifteen days following the release of cargo, the broker will have to email the Trade Interface Unit (TIU) and ask that CBP make the necessary and updated changes to the Bill of lading. TIU will usually make the required changes to the bill of lading entries within 15 days after the arrival of the vessel at the terminal.

Will You Need to File an Importer Security Filing (ISF)

Carriers will not have to file a new ISF (Importer Security Filing) for the new bill of lading. The original ISF can usually be edited and added as the new bill of lading. However, all updates to the ISF need to be made immediately when they are discovered.
In instances in which updating the bill of lading fails to generate separate release messages for the different terminals, separate entries may be submitted for the releases.

How to File Separate Entries for Each Split

1. Every master bill that is split will need to be corrected at the house bill level so that entries match those on the master bill. The port of lading and the bill quantity will have to be edited and synced as well.
2. All entries in addition to the split bills have to be filed too
3. The entry summary needs to be edited to ensure that the proper fees and duties are paid for the accurate value and quantities of merchandise.

What if the Stakeholders are not informed on time?

In case the carriers notify the stakeholders of the split more than fifteen days following the release, it will be impossible for the broker to update the bill of lading with the correct figures and values. In such an instance, the broker will ask the TIU to complete the updates to the bill of lading for the consignment.

Procedure for asking the TIU to Correct the Bill of Lading

1. Brokers will send an email to the TIU
2. In the email, they will provide the old quantity, new quantity, new house/master bill, the old house, master bill, new entry number and old entry number.
3. Brokers may either file a Post Summary Corrections (PSC) for the overpaid duty or edit carton count for paid entries.
4. The CBP centers will then process the Post Summary Corrections.
5. In some instances, instead of processing the PSC, the CBP centers will cancel the original entry and initiate a refund. They will then file a new entry with the corrected entries and duties for the portion submitted.

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