The US Census Bureau’s Trade Regulations Branch is constantly consulted regarding who the Ultimate Consignee is in an export transaction.

The are many variations and circumstances on an export shipment that can make the answer a little tricky.

FTR Section 30.1 of the Census Bureau defines the Ultimate consignee as: “The person, party, or designee that is located abroad and receives the export shipment. This party may be the end-user or the FPPI (Foreign Principal Party in Interest) “. According to the same regulation, the FPPI is “the party shown on the transportation document to whom final delivery or end-use of the goods will be made. This party may be the ultimate consignee”.

Let’s review some examples from simple to more complicated scenarios to have clarity on who should be listed as the Ultimate Consignee when filing the Electronic Export Information (EEI) in the Automated Export System (AES) of the Census Bureau.

  1. The simplest export transaction in which the Ultimate Consignee is clear happens when the US Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) – the US Seller – is exporting merchandise to one FPPI, who is the foreign buyer and is the consumer of these goods. In this case, the FPPI is the Ultimate Consignee.
  2. Another common case and one that can create doubt about identifying the Ultimate Consignee is when the FPPI is a Distributor or Re-seller of the Goods and the USPPI has knowledge that this is the case. As part of its due diligence the USPPI should ask the FPPI (foreign buyer) to disclose its end customer, however, this is very unlikely to happen since the FPPI wants to protect its market and competitive edge. In this case, the Distributor/reseller will be reported as the Ultimate Consignee.
  3. Another scenario is when the FPPI receiving the goods is in one country, however, the country of the end users or consumers of the goods is another. The FPPI might inform the USPPI of the end country of destination of the goods but will not disclose the names of its customers. Since in this case at the time of the export, there is only knowledge of the FPPI, this should be listed as the Ultimate Consignee and its type should be filled out as reseller/distributor’ and the country of the FPPI’s country should be listed as the Country of Ultimate Consignee.
  4. Now let’s take a look at one kind of export shipment commonly known as a “drop shipment”. In these cases, an agent in the US or the same USPPI duly authorized by the FPPI files the Electronic Export Information (EEI) on behalf of the FPPI and the goods will ship to a different entity abroad who is the end customer of the FPPI. In other words, the agent or USPPI will route the goods as a ‘drop shipment’ to this third party abroad. In this case, the third party who receives the goods will be the Ultimate Consignee. The FPPI will not be shown on the EEI.
  5. Another interesting export shipment outline is when the FPPI is just passing the goods to the end user. If the FPPI is simply receiving the goods and transferring them to the end user, the FPPI will act as an Intermediate Consignee and the Ultimate Consignee is the end user of the goods.

We hope the examples presented here bring some understanding of who is considered to be the Ultimate Consignee in an export shipment and serve as a tool to provide your agent with clear information to file your shipments correctly in the EEI of the AES.

Promptus, LLC has been in the transportation industry for over 20 years. Our personnel receives training regularly and is aware of any changes in the export regulations. Call us today at 1-877-776-6799 or write to info@promptus.us.