Monthly Archives: December 2014

Advance Filing Rules: Japan’s Customs Clearance Process

Global Customs Trends – Japan’s Ocean Advance Filing Rules (AFR)


1. AFR Regulation Basics

As of March 2014, vessel operators and NVOCCs are required to electronically submit to Japan Customs information on maritime container cargo to be loaded on a vessel intended for entry into a port in Japan. Paper filings are no longer accepted. In principle, these filings should be submitted no later than 24 hours before departure of the vessel from a port of loading. Unlike other global advance manifest regulations, however, the exact timing for AFR filings to Japan Customs depends on where the cargo originates and which Japanese port the freight is destined for. For more information and for a comprehensive matrix of anticipated cut-off times and country-of-origin submission, details can be accessed on the Japan Custom’s website at
While the vessel operator or NVOCC is the party responsible for the AFR filing, they must obtain the necessary data elements from the shippers in order to ensure compliance. As such, shippers are likely to receive requests for information on data elements from their vessel operators and/or NVOCCs. Shippers need to ensure that the appropriate data is provided in an accurate and timely manner to their logistics services provider.

2. Filing Exemptions

Filing is required for all maritime container cargo to be loaded on a foreign trading vessel intended for entry into a port in Japan. The only current exemptions include Break-bulk cargo, empty container shipments (SOC and COC), and maritime container cargo not to be discharged in Japan (Freight Remaining On Board; FROB).

3. Ocean AFR Data Elements

Japan’s Ocean AFR data elements are based on the WCO SAFE Framework and pull elements from both the ocean master and house bill of lading. There are requirements for detailed cargo descriptions, based on Harmonized System (HS) Code at the 6-digit level.
While more data elements are required, the quality of the information transmitted will also be of key importance. For example, in the ‘Description of Goods’ field, it is no longer acceptable to simply state that a shipment contains “‘apparel”’. Instead, the field must be populated with a more detailed description, such as “Women’s knitted shirts, 100% cotton.” Additionally, some fields may require further party and sourcing information. Under the new AFR rules, for example, a consignee’s full address, telephone number and country code are required. Japan Customs has stated that incomplete filings may not be accepted.

4. Penalties for Non-Compliance

Japan Customs has noted that “penal provisions could be applied” and that cargo may not be unloaded “without the permission of discharge by Customs.” In addition, the agency has stated that those who do not submit cargo information may be “liable to imprisonment with labor for up to a maximum period of one year or a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand yen.”

5. How to File

Submissions from foreign ocean AFR filers cannot be made directly to Japan Customs. All foreign filings need to be made through service providers authorized by Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System, Inc. (NACCS Center). For the list of service providers for Japan Advance Filing Rules authorized by NACCS Center to connect directly to NACCS, please visit to the NACCS Center’s website at This is because the filing system must be located in Japan. The NACCS Center is responsible for import/export processes and customs-clearance services in Japan. It serves as an intermediary or ‘hub’ between the trade and Japan Customs. 

6. What You Need to Do…

The data which needs to be included in the transmission is as follows:
• Shipper’s full style name and address
• Consignee’s full style name and address (unless to order)
• Notify party’s full style name and address (incl. telephone if consignee is to order)
• Container number
• Seal number
• Number of packages
• Cargo gross weight
• UN dangerous goods code for shipments containing hazardous goods
• Cargo description and HS code at a minimum of 6 digits

7. Helpful Educational Links…

(3) CyberLogitec’s SmartLink:
* About CyberLogitec
CyberLogitec, an authorized service provider for Japan Ocean AFR compliance, provides a variety of flexible options to meet the needs of filers that run the whole gamut in terms of size and level of technical sophistication. CyberLogitec offers user-friendly solutions named SmartLink that can be readily accessed via the web and enterprise-class solutions that are pre-integrated into the shipment management and/or global regulatory compliance platforms which their customers are already using — making the process as seamless as possible. CyberLogitec can also help filers obtain a Reporter ID, a designation similar to a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) in the United States. A Reporter ID is required to file a Japan Ocean AFR submission.

* Appendix — Summary of AFR

Which shipments need to file?

Containerized shipments by sea to Japan. (AFR is applied at the last foreign port where cargo is loaded on a vessel heading for a port in Japan.)

Purpose of filing

Japan Customs will check shipment info before loading. If they consider a shipment is a threat, shipment will not be allowed to load onboard or unload to Japanese ports.

How to file?

Transmit shipment details electronically to Japan Customs.

When to file?

At least 72 hours before loading on board depending on each shipping lines.

What to file?

1. AHR (procedure to register advance cargo info): all B/L info, full cargo descriptions, and HSCODES of the most valuable or heaviest item.

2. ATD (procedure to report departure date and time): only shipping lines are required to file this.

What happens if fail to file or file after the deadline?

1. Japan Customs will issue SPD notice.

2. Shipper must   pay   penalties,   and   ask   Japan   Customs for permission to discharge cargo. Then, filing must still be done.

3. If 2 is not done or Japan Customs does not give permission to discharge cargo, cargo will not be unloaded to Japanese ports. Shippers must pay penalties and pay arising charges to ship the cargo back.

Can amend or delete manifest?

1. Before ATD   is   transmitted by shipping lines:   Yes,   can amend/ delete with a fee.

2. After ATD is transmitted by shipping lines: can amend/ delete only when Japan Customs issues HLD (hold), DNL (do not load), or DNU (do not unload) notice. Shippers also need to pay amendment fee.

Who must file?

Shipping lines and NVOCCs (shippers are not required to file but have to provide to us info for filing before deadline)


Global Customs Trends Series:

(6) Japan – Advanced Filing Rule (AFR)

Posted by Ki-Nam Kim, a solution specialist, who has researched and developed a business solution related to customs and logistics.
For additional information on how you can prepare for Advance Filing Rules of Japan, please leave a comment below or contact us here.

Container Terminal Operating System Needs Improvement for Better Operations

The Trend for Advancing Container Terminal Operating System

Investment is increasing to secure competitiveness of container terminals

With container cargo volume expected to increase and as ships are getting big, major terminals of the world are competing ever more fiercely to seize the initiative in becoming an international logistics hub. Container terminals are trying to ensure their viability by not only expanding terminal facilities for handling ships and securing container cargo volume, but also reinforcing the functions of planning, control, and monitoring to upgrade terminal productivity and ensure efficient operation.
For this purpose, a terminal considers investing in hardware and software. In terms of hardware, port facilities are expanded mainly through massive facility investment such as acquisition of advanced offloading equipment and replacement with new highly productive equipment. As far as investment in software is concerned, efficiency upgrade is sought through advancing and diversifying terminal functions or heightening the level of automation by replacing an terminal operating system.

TOS improvement is essential for achieving rewarding terminal investment.

More than anything else, the operating system for a container terminal is a crucial factor with a direct bearing on the terminal productivity, and it is not much to say that it is the brain of a terminal. It’s because the operation of advanced offloading equipment and automated offloading system must be as productive as possible at most terminals to ensure that they develop into high-productivity terminals, which is their top priority. Now, port productivity upgrade requires development of an automated offloading system as well as next-generation technology that can ensure its optimized operation.
In this light, some advanced terminals are putting in a lot of efforts to develop technology for a next-generation AI-based terminal operating system with a view to productivity improvement. However, at the great majority of terminals of the world, the operating system continues to stick to manual mode or planning and control with a simple system. These terminals should be provided with an operating system that supports complex operation that overtaxes a manual mode and an operating system that can effectively plan and execute an automated offloading system.
From terminal operating system upgrade, we can expect the following benefits.
  • Improved yard share
  • Minimized equipment mobility
  • Minimized rehandlings
  • Synchronized loading and unloading supported
  • Minimized closing time


Posted by In-Chon Park, a Business Analyst who has investigated container terminal market for several years and conducted TOS projects recently.


Have something to say about advancing container terminal operating system? Leave a comment below. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


How Container Terminal Automation Helps Terminals Enhance Productivity and Efficiency

Please check out ABB’s awesome interview about how automation technology helps modern terminals enhance productivity and overall efficiency. ABB and CyberLogitec had worked together in a couple of automated terminals in South Korea, you can find them in the clip. Thanks again ‘Uno Bryfors’ and ‘PTI’ for the great interview.
Posted by Jake Kim, Terminal IT expert as a project leader and project manager


See more blog posts about terminal automation at

Port Charges Calculation Methods for Bulk Carriers’ Outstanding Data Management in Bulk Shipping

How Should Outstanding Data Be Managed for Bulk Carriers?

It takes a great deal of time and money for bulk carriers to manage their outstanding data. Even if a lot of time and money are invested in the accurate management of outstanding data in bulk shipping, the task is very likely to have data left out if the work is done manually. In this essay, we are going to take a look at the types of outstanding data, and then, a closer look at the port charges calculation method through some actual cases.

Types of Outstanding Data in bulk shipping

The types of outstanding data that occurs mainly in the affairs of a bulk carrier are as follows.
- Port charge advance to port agents and balance.
- Owner’s account and charterer’s account as part of port charges.
- Off-Hire of affreighted or chartered ships.
- Brokerage-waived amount of time charterage paid for an affreighted ship.
- Suspense receipts and provisional payments that occur between a ship-owner and a shipper in bulk business.

Outstanding Data Related to Calculation of Port Charge Advance and Port Expenses

When a port agent provides services between a ship’s arrival to the port and its departure, a bulk carrier pays advance port charge to an agent for the port of arrival. Now, the port agent charges to the carrier the difference between the actual port charge and the advance. The employee of the carrier who receives a port charge voucher splits specifics of the occurred port charge into owner’s account and charterer’s account and keeps them in outstanding. When paying a hire (or time charterage), the employee of the carrier does so while referring to owner’s account, and when charging shipping cost, the employee totals charterer’s account and charges it to the shipper.

Outstanding Data Related to Calculation of Port Charge Advance and Port Expenses

Two Methods of Calculating Port Charge with a Port Agent

For accurate calculation of port charge with a port agent, one usually uses a bulk operating system like OPUS Bulk. And calculation methods are divided into voyage-specific calculation and time-specific calculation.

1) Voyage-Specific Calculation

- The method consists in calculating the balance between port charge and advance port charge for each voyage.
- It is applied to a port which a ship arrives to irregularly.

2) Time-Specific Calculation

- The method consists in calculating the balance between total port charge and total advance port charge for a specific point of time.
- It is applied when a carrier-owned ship regularly and frequently arrives to a port.
- The method reduces time required for calculation and shortens the company process and bank deposit/withdrawal for the calculated balance (account receivable/account payable).
< An example of port charges calculation>
An example of port charges calculation in bulk shipping 

Posted by Seung-Hee Seo, a Business strategist, who has made business plans and researched the maritime industry including container and bulk shipping.  

Have something to say about managing outstanding data or want to know more about the port charges calculation? Leave a comment below. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

Issues on Container Terminal Operation Discussed in DPW Conference 2014

Notes on DP World Operations & Engineering Conference 2014

- Change must come to container terminal equipment and the mode of its operation in response to vessel upsizing.

With a view to sharing and spreading the know-how for global terminal operation, Dubai Port World held ‘DPW Operations & Engineering Conference 2014’ at the Conference Room of Grosvenor Hotel in Dubai from Nov. 18 (Tue.) through 20 (Thu.). The conference provided meaningful time in which strategies for DPW operations and engineering and latest trends in terminals were shared with 120 or so invited people, who are engaged in the operations and engineering for DPW terminals in different countries of the world.
The conference was divided into Operation Session, in which participants shared process innovation and trends in technological development through information on container terminal operation and cases of DPW terminals operated globally, and Engineering Session, in which they discussed presentations and plans on equipment management, safety management, and risk management. Also, operations and engineering specialists for DPW terminals in different countries were present at the conference to discuss the future of global DPW terminals. A DPW official said, “This event presents strategies and directions for the development of global DPW terminals and promotes the relationships among those terminals.”
Most of the presentations made at the conference focused on what technology and strategy were needed to respond to the changing terminal business environment. The most impressive part of the conference sessions was “Strategy for the port operators to deal with the challenge of global vessel upsizing” presented by Mr. Zheng, CEO of Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal. Pointing out that with ship upsizing, terminal equipment and terminal operation methods were undergoing change, he stressed the importance of building highly productive terminals by upgrading operational efficiency.
In the meantime, CyberLogitec, which participated in the conference as a booth sponsor, presented Eagle Eye (a container terminal automation solution) and OPUS Terminal. The Company drew much attention from the conference participants when it shared with them the successful application of the two solutions in JA-CT3 project in Dubai.
Discussion on container terminal operation in DPW conference 2014

DP World Operations & Engineering Conference 2014


Posted by In-Chon Park, a Business Analyst who has investigated container terminal market for several years and conducted TOS projects recently.
See more blog posts about terminal operation at

Shipping Industry Trends Discussed in Maritime CIO Forum Rotterdam

Major technological trends in shipping industry and plans to save communications costs

CyberLogitec participated in Maritime CIO Forum, which was held in Rotterdam in November. The forum is designed to share issues and trends in shipping IT and communications and forecast the future of IT. Hosted by Digital Ship, an international news provider that specializes in the field, the event came after Nor-Shipping of 2013. The forum has a new venue for each year.
This year’s forum has some 100 people from European shipping industry, which included IT workers in various positions ranging from CIO to IT manager of a shipping company. For the purpose of performing promotion in Europe and figuring out market issues, CyberLogitec participated in this forum, where the company presented operating systems for shipping companies such as OPUS Bulk and OPUS Vessel.
Interesting topics and details from the forum are as follows.

1) How far can remote monitoring & control be applied in shipping industry?

- Engine monitoring for ships has been under way for last 6 or 7 years.
- Since other industries have gone beyond monitoring to control, shipping has to tackle remote monitoring as its urgent task.
(Exemplary targets of monitoring: engine condition, fuel condition, and cargo condition)
2) A plan to save costs for vessel-land communications and related issues.
- The choice is clear: either shouldering the increasing burden of communications costs due to increasing data on objects of management, or value-added information management through efficient use of data.
3) Is transport by unmanned vessels possible?
- DNV GL is developing “Revolt”, a newly conceived vessel for innovation in offshore transport and logistics.
- The new ship model is expected to serve as a solution to accidents, the industry’s major problem, and increase cargo carrying capacity.
While no clear conclusion was reached on the topic, diverse views were presented. And participants shared part of the information on certain projects in progress. While it wasn’t likely to bring changes to shipping industry in a short period of time, the topic deserved attention in the medium and long terms. Interestingly, participants were able to actively participate in the forum, as the mobile page provided real-time Q&A and survey.
The forum looked differentiated from other exhibitions in that it was a specialized forum as the title ‘Maritime CIO Forum’ suggested. Moreover, the networking session allowed us to figure out the trends and interests for European shipping companies.
Discussion on Shipping Industry Trends at Maritime CIO Forum Rotterdam

Discussion on Shipping Industry Trends at Maritime CIO Forum Rotterdam

CyberLogitec attended Maritime CIO Forum Rotterdam

CyberLogitec attended Maritime CIO Forum Rotterdam as one of supporters

Posted by Min-Kyung Kang, who has experienced various ICT projects and investigated maritime market.

Have something to say about this maritime CIO forum? Leave a comment below for further discussion!