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ISF Penalty Enforcement Update

In an effort to maintain Homeland Security, importers and carriers are required to submit 10+ 2 Data Elements to CBP 24 hours prior to lading for all ocean shipments. Since 2009 CBP has requested 100% importer/carrier participation. Through a series of public statements, CBP reported compliance rates had reached the mid 90 percentile through the end of 2012, only to backslide into the lower 80 percentile in early 2013. This decline is the basis for CBP's decision to begin enforcing compliance through the use of liquidated damage penalties for all violations on or after July 9, 2013. 

Liquidated Damage Penalties and petitions will be administered at the port level via the standard form 5955a process. During the initial enforcement phase, all penalties will be reviewed by CBP HQ prior to issuance. 

Liquidated damage claims will be limited to $10,000 per ISF

  • $5,000 per non filed or late ISF
  • $5,000 per Inaccurate ISF
  • $5,000 per inaccurate ISF update
  • Merchandise which has entered the US with no ISF may be subject to examination and or cargo seizure until a proper ISF has been filed.

It is important to make sure that all Importer Security Filings are complete, accurate & timely to avoid penalties. Customs has advised they will take a common sense approach to the issuance of liquidated damage penalties and a good track record of compliance will be taken into consideration. ISF filers have an obligation to promptly update any inaccurate or missing information while the shipment is in transit. CBP has also indicated that ports will initially target ISF non-filers and excessively late files. For importers that have no bond on file and are past the deadline to file an ISF, please email for guidance or contact us directly at 201-653-6100. 

Cargo seizures, delays, and penalties will undoubtedly increase 3rd party legal liability exposure for ISF filers. Often times, importers designate freight forwarders and other appointed agents to handle ISF filings on their behalf. We recommend contacting your importers to clarify your role in the process and avoid any unnecessary increased liability. IB&M offers enhanced E&O coverage for ISF legal liability & liquidated damage penalties. For more information regarding ISF Legal Liability and our new enhanced ISF coverage, Contact You can also complete the following E&O Application for a quote. 

CBP has dedicated a portion of their website to ISF information as a reference. You may also send questions to