New Import Manifest Confidentiality Process

Electronic Vessel Manifest Confidentiality

As mentioned in August 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will release a new process for import data confidentiality.  Currently,  CBP replies with a confirmation for data protection in 60 to 90 days.  The new online process will allow CBP to process requests within 24 hours.  CBP’s announcement states, “Automating the process by which an importer, consignee or exporter may request confidential treatment of its name and address on inward or outward vessel manifests will allow trade users to manage their own confidentiality requests electronically via a new tool on”  This enhancement will significantly reduce process time to as little as 24 hours.  In addition, the new tool will enable companies and individuals to directly input all applicable name variations into the Vessel Manifest Confidentiality request tool.

Why does this Matter?

Did you know that your ocean bill of lading manifest information is available for public review?  There are companies that actually data mine this information daily and provide it to your competitors, customers, logistics firms, and anyone else that is willing to pay for it. Did you know you can protect this data?  At Scarbrough, we value your confidentiality and are pleased to introduce you to the “Manifest Confidentiality Request” mechanism to have this information removed from public record.  According to privacy statue, 19 CFR 103.31, an importer or consignee may request confidential treatment of its name and address contained in inward manifest, and of the shipper and shipper’s name and address. The rules may be accessed here.

Key Points to Remember

This request does not omit information that is already out there.  Any data element that pulls up on the internet from past shipments will continue to exist. Once an organization has its confidentiality in place, it will take care of any future ocean shipments and keep the data confidential from the public.  Public information is unavailable on air shipments.

The following information is currently available to the public:

***Designates data element which will be deleted where confidentiality has been requested.
[table id=24 /]

How do I File this Request?

There are 2 ways to go about this.  You can either  1.) Do it yourself or 2.) Hire a professional.
Don’t forget, the request is only valid for two years and does not retroactively make your data private.

1. Do it Yourself

Luckily, Scarbrough provides valuable resources at your fingertips and makes things like this extremely easy.  You can download this Letter to CBP, fill in the information and mail or email a copy direct to U.S. Customs.  You can complete the form with up to 10 known variations of your name plus your shippers’ information.  You can email a request or mail a request.  CBP will reply in the same format you sent your request in.  CBP on average will take between 60-90 days, so make sure to follow up if you don’t hear back.  Also, make sure your suppliers also use the exact names you request confidentiality for when creating bills of ladings.

Email the form to or you can mail your request to:

Disclosure Law Officer, Headquarters
U.S. Customs Service
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20229

2. Hire a Professional

Scarbrough can also simply create a letter and send it to CBP on behalf of our clients.  All we need from you is a list of 10 variations of your company name plus your shippers’ information.  We will follow up with CBP to ensure confirmation of receipt.  Moreover, we will also maintain your future confidentially requests and keep from any import data being leaked to the public.  We do this for a flat fee of $300 per request every two years.  For more information or to request assistance, please email or fill out the form below.

Remember that the above inward manifest data elements will be available for public disclosure without this request.  We recommend that you resubmit this request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) every 18 months to ensure no lapse in coverage.  If Scarbrough maintains this for you, we follow the same guidelines we suggest to our clients.

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About Scarbrough

The Scarbrough Group of Companies, headquartered in Kansas City with local presence in every major port in the world, is a complete international and domestic supply chain service provider, offering U.S., Mexican, and Canadian Customs brokerage, Import & Export Transportation Solutions, Domestic brokerage and asset-based trucking, Warehouse fulfillment and distribution services, Trade Compliance Consulting, Large Equipment and Project Cargo moves, as well as Parcel Audit Savings.  Scarbrough is widely known for its trade experts, training, personalized customer service, customized solutions, and data analytics tools.  Since 1984, Scarbrough has continued to satisfy its clients by following its motto on a daily basis: “It is our job to make your job easier.”  Moreover, our team of experts is available at your disposal.  We offer free consultations on any topic from supply chain optimization and duty savings opportunities to the basics, helping to guide new importers and exporters as they jump into the world of global trade.  Contact us now.