By: Nyitre Rodgers and Nidaal Jubran
A Requirement of the AES is that every shipment must have a unique Shipment Reference Number (SRN). See FTR Letter No.2.
The SRN is a unique 17-character alphanumeric number assigned by the filer to each shipment. It’s then used to retrieve, amend, correct, print, and delete shipments. You should establish a unique format in your company to create each SRN. Maintain a log of those already used SRNs in order to prevent duplication, allow for easy retrieval, and avoid any fines or penalties resulting from failure to file or late shipments.
Why unique? Once you have assigned an SRN to a shipment, the number can never be re-used for other shipments. If it is, you will replace the original Electronic Export Information (EEI) with the new shipment data. That means that you would have to retrieve the overwritten shipment and reenter the original information. Then, file another entirely new shipment that will represent the current shipment you were trying to file prior to you replacing the previous EEI. Sounds like a lot of uneccessary work! In addition, replacing the original EEI, especially for shipments already exported, will cause a compliance alert.
When should I use the same Shipment Reference Number? There are instances when the same SRN should be used. When correcting or replacing information to existing shipments, you would use the same SRN. Oftentimes, you may need to pull up previous EEI to make corrections. You would look to retrieve for corrections and make sure a new SRN is NOT entered. If done correctly, the ITN will remain the same.
I’m not sure if my Shipment Reference Number has been used before. If I am using AESDirect, will it warn me? Yes, The AESDirect application prompts you to confirm a replacement of shipment information of any previously used SRN.
The 1st prompt indicates:
“This EEI ‘01168501’ already exists in AES. Submitting this EEI will replace the existing EEI in AES and should only be done if you are amending or correcting this EEI. If you are intending to amend or correct this EEI, click ‘OK’, otherwise click ‘Cancel”
The 2nd prompt indicates:
“You are using a previously used Shipment Reference Number. Please verify that the shipment you are submitting is a correction to a previously filed shipment. Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) Letter – No. 2 clarifies FTR, Section 30.6 (19) and states that the reuse of the Shipment Reference Number is prohibited when creating a new shipment.
If the shipment is a correction, click ‘OK’. If the shipment is not a correction, click ‘Cancel’ and you will be taken back to the Shipment Information section to change the Shipment Reference Number”.
Accidents happen…then what? If you mistakenly file new shipment information under a previously used SRN, all of the original information will be replaced. You must restore the original EEI back to its original information (prior to the replacement). This is why it is best for exporters to retain all invoices, documents, and related paperwork associated with each shipment! Once the shipment data has been corrected and the EEI reflects the original filing, the filer must create a new shipment with a unique Shipment Reference Number.