CommentaryImport

How to Keep your Import Data Confidential

Protect your Information

How to avoid your competitors from learning about your international business. Avoid sales calls too!

Did you know that your confidential ocean import and export bill of lading manifest information is available for 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 “Government Confidentiality Request” mechanism to have this information removed from public record.

What else you need to know

The Primary Purpose of the Government Confidentiality Request is to keep your sensitive Import and Export inward manifest information including identifying marks and numbers confidential or from being disclosed to the public for a period of two years at a time.

According to Customs Regulations, “The Freedom of Information Act, as Amended (5 U.S.C. 552), provides for access to information and records developed or maintained by Federal Agencies.”  U.S. Customs and Border Protection is required to make available the following AMS Manifest Data Elements to the public.  However, U.S. companies have the right to request that their private company information is indeed kept private.

The following information is currently available to the public:

  1. Consignee Name  •   Consignee Address
  2. Shipper Name  •  Shipper Address
  3. Notify Party Name  •   Notify Party Address
  4. Description of Goods
  5. Bill of Lading Number
  6. Vessel Name  •  Vessel Country  •  Carrier Code  •  Voyage Number
  7. District/Port of Unlading
  8. Estimated Arrival Date
  9. Foreign Port of Lading
  10. Manifest Quantity  •  Manifest Units   •  Weight  •  Weight Unit  •  Piece Count
  11. Container Number  •  Seal Number

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 doesn’t retroactively make your data private.

How to 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 + email a copy direct to U.S. Customs.  You can complete the form with up to 10 known variations of your name plus shipper’s information.  Email the form to VesselManifestConfidentiality@cbp.dhs.gov. This should take 60-90 days, so make sure to follow up if you don’t hear back.

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, PLUS we will 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.  For more information or to request assistance, please email consulting@scarbrough-intl.com.

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.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact consulting@scarbrough-intl.com.

 

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