January 2024

The following may impact your import program. Please take a few minutes to go over these, as many of them are annual reminders that may require action on your part.

From Kiplinger Letter

Ocean shipping rates will remain depressed because of new vessel deliveries in 2024 and beyond; however, there is still the possibility that deliveries of some items from China may be disrupted by COVID-19 outbreaks at local factories.

Trucking rates will likely drop further following recent declines. Spot rates should bottom out early this year; contract rates, in the second half. One silver lining is that the cost of diesel is expected to decline as well.

But warehousing costs will likely rise. Capital development costs have increased because of higher interest rates. New construction is expected to drop 60% next year. Meanwhile, the average vacancy rate for warehouses will rise only to 4%, compared with the prepandemic average of 6.4%.

Chinese New Year 2024

This year it is again early, from Feb 10 to Feb 24, the year of the Dragon.  While ships will still load during this time, many factories & distributors will be closed and unable to ship.  Please plan your shipments so there will be minimum disruptions to your supply chain.

Continuous bonds under scrutiny

Customs is aggressively examining continuous bonds for sufficiency.  If you get a notice that you bond is insufficient, please call us immediately.  You have only about 3 weeks to get a new bond in place. Please consult with us to insure the replacement bond will be sufficient for the 1 year term of the bond, otherwise you will have to go through this process more frequently.  If you are subject to ADD/CVD, you must place new collateral with the surety. Please remember that for ADD/CVD, the liability “stacks”, so the old collateral may not be returned for several years, until ALL entries on that bond have liquidated.

Also, when Customs gets mail returned from an importer with a continuous bond, they have started flagging them as insufficient, which can require a single transaction bond (STB) for entries until the address is corrected.  If you have moved in the last 15 months or so, or if you plan to move in the near future, please check with us to insure your correct address is on file with Customs.  If you are currently an STB filer and you make 2 or more entries per year, or if your merchandise requires OGA clearance (FDA, USDA, etc), you may save money with a continuous bond.  Please contact us.

Manifest data is publicly available

A ship’s manifest is in the public domain, and several services gather and sell this information.  If you want your manifest information (shipper, consignee, commodity, weight, etc) kept confidential and away from your competitors, we can furnish you a template to request Customs to not release it. Please contact us, and we will gladly send you the template.  You will get a letter/email back from Customs notifying you that your data is now confidential, but at the end of 2 years, they will begin releasing the data again. If you will send us a copy of your letter/email from CBP, we will put it in our suspense program and notify you before the 2-year period lapses so you can have continuous coverage.

Trade name registration with Customs

If your trade name is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trade Office, we urge you to register it with Customs as well.  They will help keep unauthorized or counterfeit product from entering the country.  Please contact us if you wish to register with Customs.

Cyber Theft: An Underestimated Risk (From NCBFAA)

Cyber theft threatens businesses large and small in a very real, tangible way. According to the Insurance Journal, cyber risk now costs the global economy $445 billion each year. $108 billion of that comes from the United States. Allianz’s white paper, “A Guide to Cyber Risk” attributes about 50% of this $445 billion to the world’s top ten economies. For more info, please go to:


Ed. Note:  Because of this risk, we have purchased a cyber policy.  You may want to check with your insurance agent to see if this coverage is right for you.

Customs warns importers of increasing cases of identity theft

Customs officials last year reported a rise in importers’ identity being hijacked by criminals and used in unlawful imports.  The criminals obtain an importer’s IRS employer identification number (EIN), which is used by Customs as the “importer number”.  The criminals then make entry using that information.  When Customs inspects the shipment and finds contraband, they seize the shipment and notify the legitimate importer.  The legitimate importer must then prove it was not their shipment.  This has been very difficult and expensive for some importers, and we don’t want that to happen to our good customers. We have long urged importers to keep a spreadsheet with ALL imports identified by at least entry number, P.O. number, bill of lading number, and date.  If we write your bond, we can easily furnish you a list of all imports made nationwide under your importer number, which you can compare against your spreadsheet.  If we do not write your bond, you should contact the surety and have them furnish you with a similar report.  We urge ALL importers to check their imports in this manner at least twice a year.

Entered Value  Basis for COGS – Sec. 1059A IRC still in effect

If you import from a related party, Section 1059A of the Internal Revenue Code requires that you use the entered value we report for you on Customs Form 7501 as the basis of your cost of goods sold. You can uplift that value for transportation, duties and fees, such as ours, related to the importation of the merchandise, and a few other costs.  For more information, please contact your tax advisor.

ADD/CVD reminder

We continue to see a steady increase in the number of anti-dumping and countervailing duty complaint investigations being brought by the Department of Commerce.  This is especially true for non-market economies, particularly China and Vietnam, but also many Western countries. It is the responsibility of the importer of record to know if/what ADD/CVD cases apply to your merchandise. Further, we MUST get special permission from your surety for any entry involved with ADD/CVD, and the surety will usually require collateral for the full value of your bond.  The collateral can be either a cash deposit or standby letter of credit.  To avoid being assessed unexpected costs of ADD/CVD on your imports, we urge you to frequently check the list of Commerce investigations that can be found at


Alternatively, you can engage a service that monitors ADD/CVD cases for you.  Their fees vary, but they are pricey. If you prefer to engage a service, please contact us for a referral.

Reminder: TFTEA & EAPA require CBP to increase enforcement

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act and the Enforce and Protect Act, both of 2015, require an increased level of enforcement by CBP in regards to AD/CVD evasion, products using forced labor in ANY step of the manufacturing process, and intellectual property rights (IPR) violations.  It is HIGHLY important that importers of record take positive and proactive steps to insure your imported merchandise does not fall into one of these 3 categories.  If you are not 100% percent sure your imported merchandise is compliant, please contact us.  The penalties are severe and can even result in shutting down your import program. For more detailed information and a list of manufacturers with active “Withhold Release Orders”, please go to


Ed. Note:  Merchandise produced using forced labor continues to be a focus area for CBP in 2024.  CBP is taking unprecedented measures to prevent merchandise produced in whole or in part in a foreign country using forced labor from being imported into the United States. Further, violators are being  aggressively prosecuted.

Supply chain risk insurance available

Several companies now offer supply chain insurance to cover risks that conventional insurance does not.  Some examples are if your supplier cannot deliver on contracted merchandise &/or on time due to a casualty loss, your supplier goes out of business, you &/or your supplier are hacked, or one of these happens to your supplier’s vendor(s).  You can also get cyber liability insurance now. You should first check with your current insurance agent.  If they do not offer it, we will gladly refer you to a company that does.

 Payment of duties by check

We are required by regulation to inform you that , “…if you pay by check, Customs charges may be paid with a separate check payable to U.S. Customs and Border Protection  which shall be delivered by the broker.”  Many of our customers pay by check, and this is frequently applicable.  If, however, you pay by wire transfer, or if you are on periodic monthly statement, this does not apply – in these cases, we cannot pay Customs with a separate check. If you are on our daily ACH statement, you must inform us at least 3 working days prior to entry summary date so we can change payment method in the Customs computer, and we must receive your check payable to Customs at least 1 working day prior to entry summary date.  Entry summary date is usually 9 working days after entry date. 

HTSUS  updates and PGA changes

The International Trade Commission is responsible for updating the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTSUS) periodically, usually twice a year though it can be more frequent.  These changes historically have been minimal, and major changes are usually known well in advance.  While 2023 changes were manageable, this may not be the case in 2024. While we make every effort to apprise you of coming changes, it is the importer of record’s responsibility to be aware of all changes that will affect the importation of your commodities – HTSUS, Customs rulings, participating government agency (PGA) regulations, etc.  We are obviously not responsible for these changes, but you can engage a service that can track your commodities and keep you abreast of coming changes.  Please contact our office if you need our help in contacting a tracking service.

Verified gross mass reminder

Since July 1, 2016, changes to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention required the shipper to provide carriers with VGM documentation in the form of weight tickets or other types of documentation that is generated by certified, calibrated weight scales. Subsequently, it is a violation of the SOLAS requirements to tender a packed container to a vessel unless the vessel operator has been provided the required weight certification signed by the shipper. It is important to keep in mind that these requirements are being imposed internationally but not necessarily uniformly on all ocean containerized shipments.

Customs seizures, penalties, and audits

Our clients  rarely have this problem, but working through a seizure is VERY technical and requires an experienced customs attorney. Penalties, especially if they are large, may also require the expertise of a good customs attorney.  We have good working relationships with several, and we will gladly make a referral. Audits, of course, can be problematic, perhaps requiring a customs attorney, but depending on the circumstances, we may be able to guide you through an audit.  Please keep in mind we gladly provide “pre-audit reviews” to review your processes to insure you can withstand a Customs audit.  Regardless, when you hear a Customs officer say “seizure”, “penalty”, or “audit”, you should contact us immediately.

Foreign customs classifications and duty rates

While we make every effort to provide accurate and complete foreign customs classifications and duty rates from qualified foreign agents, we cannot be responsible if the foreign customs service finds them in error, or otherwise assesses additional duties, fines, or penalties.  We have had instances where foreign customs services, including Canada, have acted erroneously for a number of reasons, including incompetence and intransigence, that we or our agents have no way of predicting.  Further, a protest regime may or may not be available, and even if available may not be effective.  The risk of the vagaries of foreign customs services, therefore, is solely the risk of the foreign importer of record. 

Notice to exporters to Canada acting as importer of record

The Canadian Customs Act requires that the Importer of Record must correct the country of origin, tariff classification, tariff treatment and/or value for duty if found in error. The B3 Canada Customs Form is a declaration to Canada Customs and correction must be made within 90 days or the Importer of Record may be subject to AMPS penalties. Please advise your Canadian customs broker immediately if you determine an error has been made. Also, if Rutherford Global Logistics is the Canadian broker that we have arranged for you – they are your direct agent. As such, you are subject to their terms and conditions of service for problems arising with imports into Canada, and especially Canadian Border Services Agency. They abide by  Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association  Standard Trading Conditions. You can find them at


If you have another Canadian customs broker, you have a direct agency relationship with them and are subject to their terms and conditions of service. We urge you to carefully review and understand your obligations under them.

Our Terms & Conditions of Service

Likewise, our terms & conditions of service govern our relationship.  You have agreed to accept and abide by the most current version of NCBFAA Terms and Conditions of service, which were updated in September, 2023.  We urge you to review them on our website at

Some Internet Explorer users may not be able to access this new page due to some Microsoft problems in IE v.10.  If you cannot access the 9/2023 Revision of our terms & conditions as shown at the bottom, please contact us for a copy.

Open marine insurance policy reminder

All ocean shipments are required to have marine insurance that attaches in the event of a general average. Not having marine insurance if a general average is declared is a nightmare – if you don’t get it from us, PLEASE get coverage somewhere! Air shipments are covered by the airlines for only $20/kg, and domestic truckers used to dray containers or LCL shipments from the port limit their liability to as low as $0.50/ cwt. These limits are usually not enough to cover a loss. We offer outstanding cargo insurance for both ocean, air, and domestic shipments through our open Lloyd’s of London policy.  Please contact us if you are unsure of your cargo insurance coverage.  Also, please let us remind you that our marine policy has coverage amount limits, exempts certain countries from any coverage, others from full coverage, and still others have additional surcharges per below chart:


Lloyd’s of London Policy Number 01RIOM0000431-00


$ 1,000,000 any one vessel or conveyance per any one account of the Assured, except that in the following

cases this insurance shall not cover for more than:

$ 100,000 any one vessel subject to an On-Deck bill(s) of lading;

$ 1,000,000 any one aircraft or conveyance per any one account of the Assured;

$ NIL any one barge, except as a connecting conveyance;

$ 1,000 any one package by parcel post, mail or similar parcel delivery service;

$ 250,000 any one land or air conveyance for U.S. and/or Canada domestic transit only.


Excluded Countries: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Russia, Ukraine, and truck/rail shipments to/from and within Mexico (other than as a connecting conveyance)

Current OFAC Excluded Countries:  Crimea, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea

War/SR&CC Surcharged Countries: Bahrain, Central African Republic, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mali, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Coverage Ceases at Port / Airport: Haiti, Pakistan, Ukraine & CIS (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan)

Current OFAC Restrictions can be viewed at: