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Containerized Cargo Sealing Policy

This policy is applicable to containerized cargo that arrives, departs, or transits the United States via sea or land and are opened by a CBP officer pursuant to a CBP inspection. This policy applies to U.S. bound containers that are opened at a Container Security Initiative (CSI) port pursuant to a CBP inspection if permitted by the host nation.
Cargo that arrives by land includes trailers, containers, and rail cars. “Containerized Cargo” covers merchandise shipped in an enclosed container or trailer that is capable of having a seal affixed. The policy does not apply to empty containers, or to examinations that are conducted under the auspices of other agencies.

These procedures will:

  • Establish uniformity in the sealing of containerized cargo at the conclusion of a CBP inspection
  • Preserve the integrity of containerized cargo leaving CBP possession
  • Eliminate any confusion within the trade community that might result in the refusal of delivery and unnecessary delay in legitimate cargo entering the United States commerce
  • Standardize the type of seal CBP officers are authorized to affix

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, including Agriculture Specialists and Border Patrol Agents, will affix an International Organization for Standardization/Publicly Available Specification 17712 (ISO/PAS 17712) compliant high-security bolt seal immediately upon the conclusion of a CBP inspection. The seal will be marked with the letters “CBP” and have a unique alphanumeric serial number.
Prior to resealing an examined container, the removed seal(s) shall be placed inside the examined container or trailer at the conclusion of the inspection.
In the event a carrier chooses to fasten an additional seal, the CBP-installed, high-security bolt seal must not be removed, replaced, or manipulated in any way.
CBP officers shall notify the appropriate parties of the number of the container that has been examined and the serial number of the newly installed high-security bolt seal before the arrival of the container at the receiving facility. Such parties might include the carrier, broker, or importer. Depending on the circumstances, notification can be made by facsimile, telephone, annotating the shipping/bill of lading or other transportation document, or via another mutually agreed upon method.

Last Modified: Oct 13, 2016