Industry News

CBP’s New Vessel Manifest Confidentiality Application

By Margaret Lange

Did you know that your ocean manifest information is available to the public? The Freedom of Information Act requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to make certain manifest data elements available to the public. Your manifest data can be accessed by your competitors, customers, or anyone interested in your data. Among the 22 data elements published are; description of the goods, the shipper’s name and address, consignee’s name and address and notify parties for each shipment. ANYONE can ask CBP for this information. However, if you are an ocean carrier, importer, consignee or exporter, you can take action to have this information removed from public record.

The privacy statute (19 CFR 103.31(c)) provides the mechanism for any importer or consignee to request confidentiality of its name and address, the shipper’s name and the notify party. In the confidentiality request, the name provided must exactly match the name as it is entered electronically, by trade or their carrier/filing party, in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

CBP recently launched a new online tool for submitting Confidentiality requests that reduced the processing time from 60-90 days to 24 hours or less. Additionally, the new application allows carriers, importers, consignees and exporters to upload all applicable name variations as part of the request. A template for uploading multiple name variations is included in the request application and a guide is provided on the CBP Electronic Vessel Manifest Confidentiality page. CBP will enter the confidentiality request exactly as provided.

Submit and manage request for electronic vessel manifest confidentiality using CBP’s new application link: Electronic Vessel Manifest Confidentiality Online Application.

Confidentiality requests are valid for two (2) years from the date CBP processed the request and covers all ports of entry. Renewal requests should be made at least 60-90 days prior to expiration of the current approval.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot guarantee that the identity of parties to importation and exportation will never be published; however, CBP strives to afford confidentiality based on the information furnished.

If you are interested in protecting your manifest data, we would be happy to assist in completing and submitting the request to CBP on your behalf. Call one of our licensed Custom House Brokers to make arrangements.