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IB&M has seen an increase in ISF penalties issued by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”).  ISF rules and requirements apply to waterborne cargo destined for the U.S.  Each year, more than 11 million maritime containers arrive at our seaports.  CBP and the importing community are responsible for identifying the contents of cargo and whether that cargo may pose a risk to the American people.  By retrieving data elements 24 hours prior to loading overseas, CBP can better track and trace cargo that may pose a security risk. With import safety a priority trade initiative for CBP, we can expect continued enforcement of the ISF regulations.

Since ISF’s inception over a decade ago, enforcement of penalties has been limited, however recent months have seen a noticeable increase.  The most common infractions being non-filing, late, or incorrect filings, for instance: one-off imports with parties unfamiliar with the ISF process; brief vessel transshipment/stop in the United States e.g., foreign cargo remaining on board (FROB); parties to the transaction not clear who has responsibility, etc.  Claims for liquidated damages are generally $5K per violation however for multiple transactions, these claims can quickly accumulate.  In particular, CBP typically will not combine several closely timed transactions as a single/first time violation, hence multiple claims which are an aggravating factor for calculating mitigation amounts.  It is important that a timely Petition for Relief (within 60 days) is filed with CBP in response to a CBP issued ISF liquidated damage/penalty.  A timely filed Petition for Relief typically mitigates each ISF penalty to $1,500 or $3,500 depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors. 

At IB&M, we view our customs broker relationships as a partnership and will continue to work closely with ISF filers (IOR, broker as agent, carrier for FROB shipments or the IE, T&E, FTZ filer) to assist in potentially canceling or mitigating claims for liquidated damages.

To learn more, take a look at CBP’s dedicated page for all things ISF Importer Security Filing '10+2' | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (