What is Manifest Confidentiality?


Import / Customs

Manifest Confidentiality


What is a manifest? 


A document indicating the cargo, passengers, and crew of a ship, aircraft, or vehicle. This document is made up from the bills of lading of shipments being carried and it is mainly used for customs and other official purposes. The manifest indicates the quality and quantity of the cargo onboard and is used by any party wishing to ensure that passengers and cargo recorded to have been placed on board at the beginning of the voyage are still there upon arrival.

What is Manifest Confidentiality? 

A request that allows a shipper to maintain privacy in regards to sensitive manifest information or import data, including “identifying marks and numbers.” This keeps shipping manifest information out of the public’s reach.

Why is it necessary?

Because of the Freedom of Information act (FOIA), the general public has access to nearly all information and records maintained or developed by the U.S. Federal Agencies, including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Thus, the CBP is required to make available all manifest or import data to anyone that requests it. However, U.S. companies are able to request manifest confidentiality to keep their information private.

What happens if I do not request manifest confidentiality? 

The following information regarding your shipment will be available to the public without an active confidentiality request in place:

Carrier Code Vessel Country CodeVessel nameVoyage numberDistrict/port of unladingEstimated arrival dataBill of lading number Foreign port of ladingManifest quantityManifest unitsWeightWeight unitShipper name Shipper addressConsignee nameConsignee addressNotify party nameNotify party addressPiece countDescription of goodsContainer numberSeal number  


With this data available to the general public, you leave your company vulnerable to specialized companies like Import Genius, Datamyne, Panjiva, and others who collect this information and sell it to your own competitors, logistics firms, and customers. To avoid this, importers often find it necessary to protect details like the manufacturer of their products from the general public. To achieve that, importers must simply make a manifest confidentiality request.

How can I file a Manifest Confidentiality Request? 

You can submit a request by mail to:


Vessel Manifest Confidentiality

Program Office #1354


1801 N. Beauregard St.

DHS, VA 20598-1354


Or by email to [email protected]


How long does a manifest confidentiality agreement last? 

Once granted, your request will stand for two years. Renewal requests should be submitted 60-90 days before the expiration date. 

How much does requesting a manifest confidentiality agreement cost? 

They are free.



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