Advance Filing Rule (AFR) for Japan

Advance Filing Rule (AFR) for Japan requires vessel operators and NVOCC’s to electronically submit information to Japanese Customs on maritime container cargo to be loaded on a vessel intended to enter into a port in Japan no later than 24 hours before departure of a vessel from port of loading.

All major carriers file information on our MBL’s but NVOCCs are required to file the information on a HBL level. Only a select few companies are approved for submission by Japanese customs and can conduct the HBL transmission.

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We are excited to announce that Scarbrough is one of those forwarders.


AFR Rules

1.  All NVOCC must file an AFR for each HBL they issue except if they purchase the freight from another NVOCC (Master Loader).

2.  All AFR filings must be filed 24 Hours before vessel departure. Best practice is to file before CY Cut-Off.

3.  Failure to file will result in the cargo not loading onto the intended vessel or, if cargo is loaded out, a 500,000 Yen fine or one year in prison. Best Practice: It’s better to file late than not at all.

4.  The AFR vessel is the same vessel that delivers the cargo to Japan. The AFR vessel is not necessarily the vessel named on the Bill of Lading. It may be the feeder vessel in the case of Transshipments.

5.  There is NO “Carrier Option” for having the HBL filed on the NVOCC’s behalf by the carrier.

6.  There are no amendments allowed after the vessel departure, with the exception when Advanced Notice (DNL, DNU, HLD) messages have been issued by Japan Customs.

7.  You must declare the real shipper and real consignee unless you are the master loader, in which case, you declare the master loader as the shipper and consignee.


AFR Required Data Elements


  • Shipper Name
  • Shipper Address
  • Shipper Country
  • Shipper Telephone Number
  • Consignee Name
  • Consignee Address
  • Consignee Country
  • Consignee Telephone Number
  • Notify Party Name
  • Notify Party Address
  • Notify Party Country
  • Notify Party Telephone Number
  • House Bill of Lading Number
  • Master Bill of Lading Number
  • Place of Receipt (Port of Origin)
  • Port of Loading
  • Port of Discharge
  • Place of Delivery (Final Destination)
  • Estimated Date of Arrival at Port of Discharge (POD)
  • NVOCC NACCS Carrier Code
  • MVOCC NACCS Carrier
  • Vessel Name (Vessel calling Japan directly)
  • Voyage Number
  • Vessel Call Sign
  • Vessel Flag
  • Commodity Description
  • Harmonized Tariff Number (First 6 digits)
  • Hazardous Commodity Code (UNDG)
  • Marks and Numbers
  • Number of Packages
  • Unit of Measure
  • Gross Weight
  • Volume
  • Container Number(s)
  • Seal Number(s)
  • Container Ownership(s)
  • Container Empty or Full(s)
  • Cargo Loading Party(s)



Our Scarbrough Exports team handles AFR submissions with care.  Information containing required data elements is provided no later than 48 hours prior to vessel departure. For more information or questions, please email Arijana Hoormann, Export Compliance Director, at