By: Nidaal Jubran
Back in March 2011, I wrote Decoding the SRN. Let’s refresh our knowledge of the Shipment Reference Number (SRN) in the Automated Export System (AES). FTR Letter No. 2, is a memorandum that references Section 30.6(a)(19) of the Foreign Trade Regulations which states that the SRN must be unique for every shipment and may not be duplicated.
So, on to the good stuff! Looking back at this first article from 2011, I was a little sad to see that it only received a total of 60 views, particularly since this is such an important topic that needs to resonate to all AES filers.
Because the SRN is the primary identification key for your Electronic Export Information (EEI) record, it is extremely important that the SRN is never duplicated for all new shipments in the AES. Two shipments can never share the same SRN. Make sure that you are reporting a new, unique SRN for every new record in the AES.
1) Instead of creating a new AES record for this shipment, the system will simply erase the information in the original transaction and replace it with the new information.
2) A new Internal Transaction Number will not be generated, the original data will be lost and the export trade statistics will be deflated to some degree. If the new EEI record is sent as an “add” or “new transaction”, the AES will reject the shipment because the SRN has already been used before.
3) When the original EEI data is overwritten because of SRN duplication, you are still required to correct the issue. Standard procedure usually involves digging up the original invoices and documentation for the older shipment which was overwritten, retrieving the data in your system and restoring all of the data back to its original state prior to the mistake. And after all of that, you still need to transmit a new EEI for the new shipment information and ensure that it is given a unique SRN. What a burden!
Those using AESDirect will see messages from the system indicating that the SRN already exists in the AES and questioning whether the shipment is truly a correction to a previously filed shipment.
Avoid errors! Avoid more work! Reusing the SRN can lead to quite an inconvenience as well as a bit of frustration. Make sure that your SRN is unique for every shipment.