U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is moving to a modern, online process for submitting Electronic Vessel Manifest Confidentiality requests. This represents a tremendous step forward.
What Is Vessel Manifest Data?
Vessel manifest data includes bill of lading numbers, consignee names and addresses, container numbers, descriptions of goods, estimated arrival dates, foreign ports of lading, manifest quantities and units, names and numbers, notify party names and addresses, piece counts, port of unlading, seal numbers, shipper names and addresses, vessel country codes, and weight. The CBP compiles this information daily. It is available to the public to purchase on CD-ROMs.
Understandably, certain shippers want to keep some of this information confidential. The current process requires shippers to submit a request in writing by mail or email. Once submitted, it typically takes three months to process the request.
Why Should I Care?
If you aren’t committing a crime, why should you care if someone has access to your vessel manifest data? Anyone with access to your vessel manifest data can analyze your entire logistics process. If your competitors have this information, they can use it to gain an advantage. If criminals have this information, they can use it for planning theft and other crimes.
Once the new vessel manifest data confidentiality tool is up and running, CBP hopes to have these requests processed in as little as 24 hours. In addition, the new tool will allow companies to request name changes online. An announcement from CBP said that “This enhancement will enable companies and individuals to manage their own confidentiality requests electronically via an online process.” Your confidential information belongs to you. Why take the risk of letting this information fall into the wrong hands? The new CBP tool makes it easier and faster to protect your vessel manifest data, but there are still potential minefields to know of. At Global Shipping Services, we can help you streamline all your shipping operations no matter where you are shipping to or from. Would you like to know more? Contact us through our online form or by phone at (908) 922-4290.