Many U.S. importers and exporters consider who and where they buy their goods from to be sensitive information. Understandably, they want to keep these details confidential. Yet most would be shocked to learn that U.S. law allows their ocean shipment details to be released to the public without their consent.
U.S. Customs has the authority to legally disclose vessel manifest information, which includes details like the name and address of the foreign shipper, consignee, and notify party. This information can also be accessed by the public (for a fee) by subscribing to an online database reporting service such as PIERS.
If you want to protect your company’s product sourcing information from this type of disclosure, we urge you to file a Vessel Manifest Confidentiality Request with U.S. Customs.
19 CFR 103.31 established a procedure to allow companies to request confidential treatment of manifest data. The request must be made in writing by the individual importer/exporter and sent to Customs. All requests remain effective for two years, and will lapse if not renewed at the end of the effective period.
If you’re a Mohawk client, we can file this request on your behalf for free. To have us submit a Vessel Manifest Confidentiality Request/Renewal for your company, please contact:
Tina Jordan, Import Compliance Manager
Tina Jordan is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker and a Certified Customs Specialist. She has been with the company since 2001.