ISF Compliance for Shippers: Importer Security Filing
Ocean Shipment importers and vessel operating ocean carriers are required to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP with advance notification for all ocean vessel shipments inbound to the United States. The Importer Security Filing (ISF), commonly known as the ISF 10+2 initiative, is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulation pursuant to Section 203 of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 and section 343(a) of the Trade Act of 2002, as amended by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, for non-bulk ocean shipments arriving into the United States. The ISF compliance requirements for shippers is dramatically changing the way importers and ocean carriers conduct supply-chain logistics. The importer will be solely responsible for filing ten data elements in the Importer Security Filing ISF.
Importers are required to transmit the ISF Importer Security Filing electronically to the at least 24 hours before loading any ocean shipments a vessel bound for the United States. An ISF is required for each inbound ocean shipment. Any changes or updates to the Importer Security Filing ISF must be done prior to the shipment arrival at the first U.S. Port of arrival. ISF filings will need to be secured by a bond. Generally, continuous bonds will be accepted for ISF filings.
For Ocean Shipments with a U.S. destination (includes Free Trade Zone and In-Transit) the ten data elements required by importers for the ISF transmission are:
- Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
- Seller (or owner) name and address
- Buyer (or owner) name and address
- Ship to name and address
- Container stuffing location
- Consolidator (container stuffer) name and address
- Importer of record Internal Revenue Number or Foreign Trade Zone applicant ID number
- Consignee number(s)
- Country of origin
- Harmonized Tariff Schedule number (HTSUS) minimum six digit level)
Failure to comply with the ISF rule will not only result in shipment delays and the potential loss of sales, but could also mean the assessment of penalties. The rule states, “If the principal fails to comply with the Importer Security Filing requirements, the principal and surety (jointly and severally) would pay liquidated damages in the amount of $5,000 per ISF violation. Carriers also face penalties if they do not submit the two additional data elements.
Who can file the Importer Security Filing?
The ISF importer or his agent will be responsible for filing the complete, accurate, and timely importer Security Filing. For the purposes of the interim final rule, ISF importer means the party causing goods to arrive within the limits of a port in the United States. For foreign cargo remaining on board, the ISF Importer is construed as the carrier. For immediate exportation (IE) and transportation and exportation (T&E) in-bond shipments, and goods to be delivered to a foreign trade zone (FTZ), the ISF importer is construed as the party filing the IE, T&E, or FTZ documentation with CBP.