CBP Ramping Up Enforcement On In-Bond Movement and Usage

As a customer broker holding a national permit, Sobel Network Shipping can clear arriving cargo at any port of entry in the United States. The port of entry – for Customs’ purposes – is the port where the entrance is submitted and released. This can be either the port where the vessel arrives – New York, Los Angeles, or Miami – or the inland destination where the carrier is taking the container on a bill of lading, such as Chicago, Indianapolis, or Dallas.

To move a container elsewhere to clear, the cargo moves “in-bond.” This is a process by which CBP is notified that the goods are not clearing at the port of arrival but rather somewhere else. To move the cargo inland, CBP notified with manifest parties, description and value on the data, and the name of the carrier who is taking responsibility to bring it from one Customs authorized location to another. That carrier must be authorized by Customs and can be a trucker, an airline, a railroad, or a steamship line.

Like many of today’s entry processes, in-bond began as a paper-based system which went away in July 2018. The information which used to be presented on a multi-part form and tracked manually moved into CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment.

The in-bond carrier is regulated by CBP and maintains a bond with a surety company. If something happens to the cargo in their custody, CBP files a claim against the carrier and their bond for remuneration of the potential revenue loss in duties or taxes. Because of the financial exposure, carriers should have a system to ensure that any entity that can file an in-bond request on their behalf is duly authorized. 

A carrier notifies CBP of their intent to move cargo and, upon the agency’s approval, takes custody of the goods and moves them. Upon reaching the destination, the carrier notifies or reports the in-bond to CBP, informing them that the goods have safely moved. All freight locations where uncleared cargo is held must be bonded, including ports, rail yards, and airline warehouses.

The in-bond carrier is essentially a moving, responsible freight location, charged with the safe transit and custody of cargo in its care between one fixed area and another.

CBP has recently notified the trade that unauthorized parties are improperly obligating carriers’ bonds, specifically those of steamship lines and truckers. An improperly used bond that is discovered by CBP can have consequences for both the carrier and the shipment that has been authorized.

For our importer clients, Sobel Network Shipping is focused on ensuring that cargo which we are moving in-bond on their behalf is done so correctly and in compliance with 19 CFR 113, the regulation governing carrier in-bond responsibility. We strongly encourage all importers to move cargo in-bond that is not arranged by the airline, steamship line, or master loader. This ensures that their freight forwarder has the required carrier authorization before processing that in-bond shipment illegally and to the detriment of their cargo.

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