In September 2009, the United States became a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, the so-called Rotterdam Rules. When ratified by the U.S. President, there could soon be a new day for shippers, consignees and vessel carriers with respect to carriage of goods by sea .... The heart of communications within the new rules is electronic data flow and the value of electronically stored information (ESI) .... Besides legal implications, ESI's use in the global supply chain has business, and costs-benefits consequences. With respect to costs, why should there be any further requirement for paper documents? Reduction in paper costs, solutions to their filing and storing problems, and removing the chance of falsifications of paper documents while the goods are en route, are now achievable, providing an electronic, end-to-end supply line. Current U.S. Customs programs already use and are dependent upon electronic data transmission. For instance the Automated Commercial Environment combines electronic portals such as:
a) Automated Manifest System (AMS);
b) Automated Broker Interface (ABI);
c) Automated Export System (AES); and the
d) Automated Commercial System (ACS)
The Rotterdam Rules, containing origin-to-destination, and electronic transmissions, can now be consistent with the core components of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism which mandates security to begin at stuffing and to end at destination, all evidenced by ESI.
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