Cargo manifest

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Cargo manifest
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Cargo manifest is a form of reporting to the customs administration the goods that are being brought into the country. A document of this type is required from each carrier in all modes of transport- sea, air, truck, rail, but the cargo manifest relates to maritime transport. The information available concerning the tariff classification of the goods and its value is limited at this stage of the process. The goods reported in the cargo manifest are awaiting further processing (entry for consumption, temporary admission for further processing, transit through the country, reexport) after entering the country (M. Keen 2003, s. 75).

The role of Customs Director and Chief Officer

The cargo manifest should be completed together with the Customs Director at the respective seaports where the merchandise is laden. The ship's agents should provide the Chief Officer with the cargo manifest at the last port of discharge or the next loading port. Inspection of this would later provide details on all cargo parcels, inclusive of the tonnages, and the destination of the said cargo. Then it would allow for the construction of the loading plan, preferably before arrival. The Chief Officer should note on the manifest the special items, in particular, hazardous cargoes, heavy- lift cargo, and valuable or special cargoes. The Chief Officer's responsibility is to safely handle, load and discharge the ship's cargo(D. J. House 2014, s. 212.). Moreover, he should develop the following activities to achieve safety and satisfaction of the operations (D. J. House 2014, s. 213):

  • After obtaining the details of tonnages or capacities of cargo from the manifest, he would develop an appropriate loading plan for the ship to give a hold distribution of the cargo and to allow multiple hatch discharge
  • Carrying out the ship stability assessment, taking into account the appropriate tonnages, together with bunker capacity, stores, and ballast arrangements; this would be expected to ensure that the vessel does not infringe loadline regulations while on passage
  • Checking the cargo spaces, lighting, ventilation and general hold conditions on the ship
  • Ensuring that adequate loading facilities are provided and correct stowage is available
  • Administrating the documentation on specific cargoes
  • Recording of damages cargo.

The Chief Officer's duties connected with cargo include the despatch of all the relevant cargo documentation, and cargo plan, to the company agents prior to sailing departure.

Cargo manifest elements

That cargo manifest shall show the destination of the vessel and list the cargo so laden. Besides, for each item of cargo, it should include (C. L. Kincannon 1983, s. 14):

  • The marks and numbers of the packages
  • A number of the articles
  • A description of the contents
  • A description of the quantities
  • A notation that values are as stated on the Shipper's Export Declaration, copies of which are attached to such manifest
  • The bill of lading numbers shown on the declaration covering the item (except that bill of lading numbers are not required on manifests covering cargo destined to Canada or a nonforeign area)
  • The quantities and values of bunker fuel taken abroad at that port for fueling use of the vessel, apart from such quantities as may have been laden on the vessel as cargo


Author: Joanna Milowska