Having a shipment held at customs could be bad for your customer's buying experience and incur a cost in terms of lost revenue when either incoming or outgoing goods get stuck.
Custom cargo inspectors use a targeting system that applies a score to each shipment. If the score is over a certain number, it triggers a further review. Although Customs stays quiet on the specifics of their targeting system, there are certain factors that play into the selection. For example, a first-time importer is inspected at a much higher frequency than an importer that has an established record shipping into the country. Likewise, certain commodities, countries of origin, and certain flagged entities are more likely to be picked out of the lineup. This can easily happen for new importers who are not familiar with the rules of the road.
Manifest Hold - if ISF is not being filled on time or not filed at all, it will trigger the manifest hold. Likewise, if the carrier did not enter the manifest data, resulting ISF never matched, a manifest hold will be triggered.
PGA Hold - if the shipment is regulated by other Partner Government Agency (PGA), such as FDA, USDA, Fish & Wildlife ( F&W), Consumer Product Safety Commission ( CPSC), etc. The other government agency can instruct CBP to place a hold until they confirm the shipment is fully compliant with relevant regulations.
Statistical Validation Hold – It is like Census Warning. Typically these are triggered by discrepancies in the data declared against what prior experience says cargo should be eg., value, weight, etc. for a given commodity.
Typical Disposition Code sent by Customs
When the hold is placed on a shipment, we need to understand its meaning sent by CBP
1H: The CBP officers(s) manually post hold on a shipment. If this is a consolidated cargo, the forwarder is allowed to transfer the cargo back to the warehouse and waiting for the CBP officer(s) further instruction. If the shipment is released, \you would see 1I
1A: Similar to 1H, the CBP officer(s) post hold on this shipment and require intensive examinations on the destination port. If the shipment is released, you would see 1B or 1C
2H: USDA Officer(s) instruct CBP officer(s) to manually post hold on a shipment. The held cargo is not allowed to be transferred anywhere. Whether this arrived in the U.S by air or ocean conveyance, it has to stay in the ocean port/ airline to wait for cargo inspection. USDA overseas mainly agriculture food such as egg, meat, poultry, seafood. Also, if the package is wood, you may get held by USDA as well because they want to ensure your wooden package is properly fumigated to prevent harmful insects coming into the U.S.
Some forwarders complain that USDA hold shipment cannot be transferred to their warehouse to relieve the storage fee pressure from the airline/ port. Well, unfortunately, USDA cannot afford the risk to bring in anything harmful to the U.S Territory ( Not even one insect). If the shipment is released, you would see 2I
3H - other partner government agencies instruct CBP Officer(s) to place a hold on a shipment. It could be from FDA (Food Drug Administration), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), EPA ( Environmental Protection Agency), TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), DEA (Drug Enforcement Admission). If the shipment is released, you would see 3I
5H - CBP entry document processing hold, which usually means the declared cargo is being targeted by customs. if the shipment is released, you would see 5I
7H- a Non-Intrusive Inspection (x-ray) has been ordered and the cargo has been held. If the shipment is released, you would see 7I
1X: That means CBP instructs the carrier to transfer the cargo to a CES (Container Examination Station) site to conduct examinations.
Whenever there is an examination being placed by CBP, the relevant fees will be responsible by the importer. If this is consolidated cargo, the fees will be shared by all importers together. Therefore, be sure to consult your broker before you book the shipment to lower the risk of getting customs examinations.
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