What is Automated Manifest System (AMS) for Shipping Cargo?

The Automated Manifest System or the AMS System is an integral part of the United States’ efforts to clamp down on potential security threats. The system was incorporated in the year 2004 and since its inception has streamlined the marine inventorying aspects. Apart from the marine domain, this freight tracking system is also applicable in the areas of air, rail and road cargo transference.

The application of this freight system is quite simple and easy to understand. According to the stipulations set by the Customs and Border Protection Department of the US, of which this system is a part of, it is required that all ships entering or passing through the US waters provide details about their cargo contents. Thus the AMS is required to be uploaded with the required details even before a particular ship makes its way into a particular American port.


Since the AMS System is connected directly to the US Customs department, there is no delay in the transmission of the information. Also along with a direct transference, the system of ABI (Automated Broker Interface) acts as a secondary connecting point to the US Customs department for passing the necessary cargo detailing.

The advantages of the AMS freight tracking system can be enumerated as follows:

–          The processing is faster and it eliminates unnecessary paper work

–          Since everything is computer controlled, saving the documents for future reference becomes easy

–          The officials can concentrate on identifying vessels that could be a serious threat as opposed to focusing on potentially non-threatening cargo vessels

–          Apart from the vessel officials, port authorities and even freight lading professionals can engage in the transference of vessel cargo details

container loading

If in case the Automated Manifest System has not been properly applied and the authorities are unable to get the required details about the cargo of the vessel, the following scenarios could emerge:

–          The ship and its contents could be seized for further checking thereby delaying the transit process

–          This in turn could cause unwanted time and financial problems for the company engaging in the cargo transferring

–          Presence of unwanted bureaucracy and potential diplomatic problems between countries

In the light of coming up with such a system by the United States, it can be highlighted that even other countries which enjoy a huge marine traffic – both inbound and outbound – need to devise similar methodologies. This would bring a much better and ideal centralisation to the maritime domain without compromising on international security and safety.

Image Credits  mpoverello, priorityworldwide

You may also like to read – What are the Benefits of Container Security Initiative (CSI)?

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  1. Hi,

    I work for a forwarder company in Marseilles, South of France, I was wondering if you do know which countries have to pay for an AMS? ( When you leave from France ( export) )

    I already know about the USA, the CANADA and Mexico, but could you help telling me which need an AMS ?

    Thanks in advance

  2. Very informative content. I would just like to add on that we need such kinds of the system more and more for a better water transport system. Thanks for sharing.

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