Supply Chain Security: CBP Needs to Enforce Compliance and Assess the Effectiveness of the Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements

Cargo shipments can present security concerns as terrorists could use cargo containers to transport a weapon of mass destruction or other contraband into the United States. In January 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), implemented the Importer Security Filing (ISF) rule. The rule requires importers and vessel carriers to submit information, such as country of origin, to CBP before cargo is loaded onto U.S.-bound vessels. The information is intended to improve CBP’s ability to identify high-risk shipments. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review the ISF program. This report addresses: (1) importers’ and carriers’ submission rates for ISF rule requirements, (2) CBP’s actions to enforce the ISF rule and assess whether enforcement actions have increased compliance, and (3) the extent to which the ISF rule has improved CBP’s ability to identify high-risk shipments. GAO, among other things, analyzed CBP’s compliance and enforcement data for 2012 through 2015—the most recent data available at the time of GAO’s review—and interviewed CBP officials and trade industry members. GAO recommends that CBP (1) enforce the container status messages (CSM) requirement when targeters identify carriers’ noncompliance; (2) evaluate the effect of enforcement strategies on compliance at the port level; and (3) collect additional performance information to better evaluate the effectiveness of the ISF program. DHS concurred with the recommendations.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 51p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01643043
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-17-650
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 3 2017 2:55PM