New ISF enforcement procedures for Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach


As part of US Customs’ stepped-up enforcement of liquidated damages for ISF violations, officials at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport have announced new enhanced enforcement measures particular to that port complex.

Specifically, in light of “continued non-compliance with ISF requirements,”

[b]eginning July 15, 2013, CBP [at the LA/LB Seaport] will make use of newly activated cargo holds in [ACE] to address non-compliance with the ISF rule.  CBP will hold non-compliant ISF shipments at the terminal until the required ISF is filed.  Once the ISF data is received and a security assessment is made, additional enforcement actions including Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) and/or intrusive exams may be initiated.  CBP may also assess liquidated damages of up to $5,000 per violations as warranted.

Importers may notice that this is a departure from CBP’s past practice for situations where no ISF was on file; in those cases, Customs would typically order a Non-Intrusive Exam (e.g., x-ray) and/or an Intrusive Exam (e.g., physical exam at a CES), and, in most instances, would then remove the hold and allow the shipment to proceed.

Now, the shipment will be held, and no action will be taken, until an ISF is filed.  If an importer receives notice that its shipment is being held, a manifest query should be run in order to determine the reason for the hold, which could possibly be no record of an ISF filing.

For more information, including the new ACE cargo hold codes, please see the attached Public Bulletin on LA&LB ISF Enforcement Procedures.


One thought on “New ISF enforcement procedures for Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach”

  1. Posting by Vincent Iacopella, President of the LACBFFA, on LinkedIn’s US Customs Compliance Professionals group, on 7/27/13:

    Last week the LACBFFA sent out a copy of LA. Public Bulletin13-026 that explains the holds that CBP will place on cargo that is not in compliance with the ISF filings. This includes explanations of the new manifest hold codes that will be placed on non-compliant shipments. These codes can be queried in CBP’s system for the manifest.

    CBP has a dialogue with the leaders of trade organizations in Southern California. They explained some of the special circumstances here in the Ports of Los Angles and Long Beach. Currently there are over 400 shipments daily that do not have an ISF on file when the cargo arrives in Los Angeles. Going into immediate full enforcement would overload the port’s FP&F staff as well as the tremendous workload at CBP HQ for the review of every potential damages claim. CBP in Los Angeles will take a measured approach to begin the enforcement of ISF.

    CBP will place a manifest hold on shipments that do not have the ISF filed by 24 hours prior to arrival at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The shipment will have a posting against it on the manifest as described in LA Bulletin 13-026. The hold will remain until an ISF is filed. CBP will not normally perform a Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII – also called a VACIS exam), until an ISF is filed. If no ISF is filed by the time General Order is required, the shipment will go to G.O. and not be allowed to be released until an ISF is filed.

    The intent of the measured enforcement is to first focus on those parties that have ignored the ISF process and encourage them into compliance. As the compliance increases in the ports, CBP in Los Angeles will gradually move the point of measurement back towards the actual departure date until full enforcement is reached.

    This initial program will be only for direct shipments moving into the ports. These are shipments with one consignee and one bill of lading for that shipment. Consolidated cargo will not be part of the first enforcement action. CBP recognizes that legitimate cargo in a consolidation cannot be held at the terminal because on the owner of one house bill among many did not file the ISF. CBP will develop an enforcement action plan to deal with consolidations.

    While CBP plans to be measured in its actions and enforcement measures will expand, CBP will still issue a liquidated damage case when it determines such an action to be warranted. CBP in Los Angeles will immediately file damage claims for those that are warranted. CBP will probably only go back later and file liquidated damages on those non-compliant shipments that are later determined to have egregious violation

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