Arrival Notice: A Key Document of Information and Timing
The arrival notice is an important document provided at the port or airport of destination. It is generally provided by the carrier to the consignee and/or notify party.
The carrier can be the shipping line or their agent, the airline or their agent, the freight forwarder, or in some cases railroad companies.
Providing the notice to the consignee or notify party is a service by the carrier. There is no obligation on the carrier to provide the notice of arrival.
By providing the notice to the consignee/notify party the carrier is assisting the importer in advising them that the cargo is due for arrival and providing appropriate information to assist in the Customs clearance and ultimate delivery of the cargo.
Arrival Notice Format
The arrival notice may be sent to the notify party/consignee in the form of a letter or small postcard by normal mail, by fax, or increasingly, by e-mail.
Information That May Be Provided in the Arrival Notice
- Vessel Name
Utilising the Notice of Arrival in the Trader's Systems and Processes
It is good practice for the buyer/importer to request the supplier/exporter make the notify party in appropriate transport documents the importer's Freight Forwarder/Customs Broker.
This will normally result in the arrival notice being sent to that Freight Forwarder/Customs Broker so that they can take appropriate measures in organising Customs clearance and other import formalities at the destination port or airport, leading up to and including the delivery of the goods to the importer.
What risks are there in not acting on arrival notice information?
In many parts of the world, the “grace” period for "free storage" is normally about three days. That means that if the cargo is not picked up from the appropriate terminal, wharf, airport or depot then the cargo will accrue charges.
The charges could accrue on a daily or weekly basis, depending particularly on the volume of cargo handled at that facility.
In many cases where full containers are unloaded from the ship at a wharf or terminal, those containers will be transferred from that facility to a container storage yard at the owner's (importer’s) expense. This becomes an extra cost for the importer and may mean that transaction becomes unprofitable for the importer.
Act quickly on receipt of the arrival notice!
It is imperative for the importer, banks or other notify parties to make appropriate arrangements to Customs clear the goods and pick up the goods from the appropriate wharf, terminal or depot prior to storage charges accruing.
Upon receipt of the Notice of Arrival the importer should ensure that all appropriate import documents have been received and pass these on to their Customs broker to ensure, the prompt clearance and delivery of the cargo.
If at this time appropriate documentation has not been received, it is important to follow up to find out where these documents are. This will depend on what arrangements have been made for the delivery of documents and the method of payment may also have a bearing on this process.
The Arrival Notice in Summary
The lowly Arrival Notice, often seen by some as superfluous information, in fact provides a valuable service to the importer and his agents, particularly at those times with the documentation process has experienced delays or breakdowns.
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