U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it will introduce “in the coming months” a new automated tool for importers and exporters to submit their electronic vessel manifest confidentiality requests to the agency.
“This enhancement will enable companies and individuals to manage their own confidentiality requests electronically via an online process,” CBP said in a notice.
U.S. importers and exporters already have the capability to request from CBP that their names and addresses on inbound and outbound vessel manifests be withheld from public view. However, the process involves either an email, fax or mail request to CBP’s Vessel Manifest Confidentiality Program Office that can take 60 to 90 days for the agency to process.
“The new enhancement will automate this process via an online tool, located on CBP.gov, reducing the processing time of confidentiality requests to as little as 24 hours,” the agency said.
CBP said the new online tool will allow importers and exporters to “directly input all applicable name variations into the Vessel Manifest Confidentiality request tool.”
CBP’s vessel manifest data, which is compiled daily, is available to the public for purchase and supplied on CD-ROMs. These CD-ROMs are available for specific days or on a subscription basis. Those importers or exporters that have requested confidential treatment of their shipment data in the manifests are not included.
The vessel manifest data includes vessel country codes, names and numbers; port of unlading; estimated arrival dates; bill of lading numbers; foreign ports of lading; manifest quantities and units; weight and weight unit; shipper names and addresses (unless confidential); consignee names and addresses (unless confidential); notify party names and addresses (unless confidential); piece counts; descriptions of goods; container numbers; and seal numbers.
Confidentiality certifications for importers and exporters must be renewed every two years from the date of validation.