For the past year, Customs Brokers have been preparing their customers - international seafood and produce shippers should be prepared for a new phase of regulatory enforcement that will soon take effect.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (USCBP) will begin enforcing the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Rule on January 26 with substantial financial penalties for non-compliance.

The ISF rule has actually been in effect since Jan. 25, 2009. But, USCBP gave international traders of all commercial items a year to adjust to the rules. Now, failure to comply with ISF will result in penalties to importers that might total as much as $15,000 per shipping container.

The ISF rule pertains to cargo shipped via ocean. ISF filings for sea containers are required 24 hours before the cargo is loaded at the country of origin. Bulk palletized vessels must file 24 hours before the vessel arrives in the United States.

The penalty for non-compliance is $5,000 per shipment. There can be separate penalties if an ISF filing is not provided to U.S. Customs within 24 hours prior to the ocean vessel loading at origin, or if the notice is inaccurate or incomplete, or if the notice is amended and inaccurate. If all three of these violations are involved with one shipment, a $15,000 penalty can be imposed.

It should be noted that US importers will be subject to the penalties, yet they have no direct control of the information that has to be given by the exporter or shipper in the country of origin.

Please see the attached documents on ISF 10+2: