Automated Manifest System (AMS)


The Automated Manifest System (AMS) is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) multi-modular cargo inventory control and release notification system. AMS interfaces directly with Customs Cargo Selectivity and In-Bond systems, and indirectly with Automated Broker Interface (ABI), allowing faster identification and release of low risk shipments. AMS speeds the flow of cargo and entry processing and provides participants with electronic authorization to move cargo release prior to arrival. AMS facilitates the intermodal movement and delivery of cargo by rail and trucks through the In-bond system. Carriers, port authorities, service bureaus, freight forwarders and container freight stations can participate in AMS. AMS reduces reliance on paper documents and speeds the processing of manifest and waybill data. As a result, cargo remains on the dock for less time, participants realize faster tracking, and Customs provides better service to the importing community.

For details on Sea, Air and Rail AMS, go to: and enter Automated Manifest System (AMS) in the "Search" field. You can also call the Automated Commercial System (ACS) Client Representative Branch at (703) 650-3500.


Sea AMS allows participants to transmit manifest data electronically prior to vessel arrival. CBP can then determine in advance whether the shipment merits examination or immediate release. Upon notification from CBP, the carrier can make decisions on staging cargo and the importer can arrange for examination, release and distribution of the merchandise. All this can be accomplished before the vessel arrives. Sea AMS allows you to communicate with other AMS participants, other government agencies, container freight stations, and non-vessel commercial carriers.

With Sea AMS you can:

  • File inward manifest data electronically.
  • Get electronic cargo release days before vessel arrival.
  • Benefit from electronic arrival of a vessel at each port of call.
  • Amend, delete, or re-add bill of lading data electronically.
  • Participate in the Paperless Master In-bond program.
  • Receive electronic in-bond authorizations.
  • Designate secondary parties to receive carrier status notifications: designate AMS service center, FIRMS location, rail carrier, truck carrier, terminal operator, or another ocean carrier.
  • Transfer custodial bond liability electronically.
  • Request and receive electronic authorizations for Permits to Transfer (PTT).
  • Receive notification of APHIS, other government agency, and Customs holds.
  • Receive batch numbers with transmissions from AMS to enhance tracking ability.


Air AMS allows carriers to "arrive" an in-bond shipment and to file in-bond, permit to proceed, and local transfers electronically. The carrier obtains notifications of releases, in-bond authorizations, general order, permit to proceed, and local transfer authorization upon flight departure or arrival from the last foreign port. Air waybill data can be transmitted in any sequence. Carriers have the option to transmit bills at random or group them by flight. Amendments to any air waybill information can also be transmitted electronically through AMS. Air AMS increases data reliability and electronic enforcement capability by standardizing the way the trade community and CBP communicate.

With Air AMS you can:

  • File and amend air waybills electronically.
  • Communicate flight departures electronically.
  • File permit to proceed, in-bond, and local transfers electronically, often in the original bill.
  • "Arrive" an in-bond shipment at the port of destination.
  • Use the air waybill number as the in-bond control number.
  • Designate a freight forwarder or deconsolidator to act as an agent for the carrier.
  • Receive cargo status notifications as soon as Customs is notified that the flight has departed from the last foreign port.
  • Designate cargo as General Order through AMS.
  • Receive electronic authorization from the initial arrival port to the final destination.

Freight Forwarders and Deconsolidators can:

  • File air waybill information electronically for non-automated air carriers.
  • Update existing air manifest data once designated as an agent by the carrier.
  • Receive all cargo status notifications for the non-automated carriers serviced.

Rail AMS

Rail AMS is a cargo release notification system for rail carriers. Using a unique bill of lading number, the rail carrier electronically transmits bill information to CBP. When all bills on a train are assigned, the rail carrier transmits a "consist" of the bills and containers in standing car order. This allows Customs an opportunity to review the submitted documentation and determine, in advance, whether the merchandise merits examination or release. The carrier, upon receiving a release from Customs, is able to make decisions on staging cargo, and the importer can arrange for examination, release, and further distribution of the merchandise. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has access to Rail AMS to review manifest data electronically and perform other functions. Similar capability is planned for other agencies.

With Rail AMS you can:

  • Send Customs a "train enroute, one hour out" message within one-hour of reaching the border. This prompts Customs to release the carrier's status messages.
  • Participate in Automated Line Release.
  • Receive electronic authorization for multi-transit border or in-transit border moves.
  • Specify a broker in the bill of lading--the broker will then receive the bill of lading in Customs CATAIR format, as well as status notifications pertaining to the bill.
  • File inward manifest data electronically.
  • Amend, delete, or re-add bill of lading data electronically.
  • Participate in Paperless Master In-bond program.
  • Receive electronic in-bond authorizations.
  • Designate secondary parties to receive carrier status notifications.
  • Receive notification of APHIS, other government agency, and Customs holds and removals.