Manifest Data Confidentiality

Protect your Manifest Information

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

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.

Manifest Data Confidentiality


What else you need to know

The primary purpose of the Manifest Confidentiality Request is to keep your sensitive import 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:

Manifest Data Elements

The following are the data elements from the AMS manifest which will be provided to the public via CD-ROMS:

Carrier CodeVessel Country Code
Vessel nameVoyage number
District/port of unladingEstimated arrival date
Bill of lading numberForeign port of lading
Manifest quantityManifest units
WeightWeight unit
Shipper name*Shipper address*
Consignee name*Consignee address*
Notify party name*Notify party address*
Piece countDescription of goods
Container numberSeal number
***Designates data element which will be deleted where confidentiality has been requested.

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.

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 or 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.  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.

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

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 every two years.  For more information or to request assistance, please email

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 or 816-584-2408.