Container Seals


MANDATORY CONTAINER SEAL REQUIREMENT
August 7, 2008

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has issued a General Notice in the August 7, 2008 Federal Register stating that all maritime containers arriving by vessel at a port of entry in the United States on or after October 15, 2008, are required to be sealed with a seal meeting the ISO/PAS 17712 standard. This requirement is pursuant to the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 ("9/11 Act") signed into law by President Bush a year ago. ISO/PAS 17712 requires that container freight seals meet or exceed certain standards for strength and durability so as to prevent accidental breakage, early deterioration (due to weather conditions, chemical action, etc.) or undetectable tampering under normal usage. ISO/PAS 17712 also requires that each seal be clearly and legibly marked with a unique identification number.

All loaded containers, including foreign cargo remaining on board (FROB), are required to be sealed with a seal meeting the ISO/PAS 17712 standard. CBP recognizes there are certain types of containers that cannot be readily secured by use of a ISO/PAS 17712 standard container seal, such as tanks, non-standard containers (such as open top containers), or containers that simply cannot accommodate a seal meeting the ISO/PAS standard (such as custom built containers). These types of containers are not subject to the statutory requirement.

If a container arrives by vessel at a port of entry in the United States on or after October 15, 2008 either with no seal or with a seal that does not meet the ISO/PAS 17712 standard, CBP may assess a civil penalty against the responsible party for violation of the 9/11 Act under 19 U.S.C. 1595a (b) for the attempted introduction of merchandise into the United States contrary to law. CBP will be phasing in penalty assessment for such violations.

We ask that you please make sure your foreign suppliers are aware of this requirement.

The Federal Register notice is available here.