In recent years, there have been few security issues as contentious as the ongoing debate over container seals and container security. The recent container seal guidelines issued by US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) for Customs- Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) importers may have established new container seal standards, but they did little to end the debate. Seal manufacturers, customs brokers, security professionals, US importers, government regulators, and other members of the international trade community continue to argue about the ‘ideal’ container seal and related best practices and regulatory schemes.
The instructions for compliance with the new seal standards for cargo bound for the US can be found on US CBP’s website. I will not spend much time on the specifics, but the programme can be summed up with a short quote from their website; ‘Container integrity must be maintained to protect against the introduction of unauthorised material and/or persons. At point of stuffing, procedures must be in place to properly seal and maintain the integrity of the shipping containers. A high security seal must be affixed to all loaded containers bound for the US. All seals must meet or exceed the current PAS ISO 17712 standards for high security seals.’
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