What Happens If The ISF Doesn’t Include The Voyage Number?

Have you ever wondered what could go wrong if the Importer Security Filing (ISF) doesn’t include the voyage number? Well, let’s imagine this scenario: you’re in charge of coordinating domestic trucking services for a shipment, and you accidentally overlook including the voyage number in the ISF. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but it could potentially cause a series of complications and delays in the shipping process. In this article, we will explore the repercussions of this oversight and shed light on why the voyage number is crucial for a smooth and efficient supply chain.

What Happens If The ISF Doesnt Include The Voyage Number?

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Possible Consequences

When it comes to filing an Importer Security Filing (ISF) for your cargo, there are several possible consequences you should be aware of. Failure to comply with the ISF requirements can result in holds and delays, penalties and fines, loss of security, and increased customs scrutiny. In this article, we will explore each of these potential consequences and provide a comprehensive overview of the ISF process.

Holds and Delays

The first set of consequences you may experience due to non-compliance with the ISF requirements are holds and delays. These can occur at different stages of the shipping process, including truck holds, port holds, and carrier holds.

Truck Holds

If your ISF is not in compliance with the required specifications, your truck may be subjected to a hold. This means that your cargo will not be allowed to proceed to its intended destination until the ISF has been corrected and submitted properly. This can cause significant delays in the transportation of your goods and may result in additional costs.

Port Holds

Similarly, if the ISF does not meet the necessary requirements, your cargo may be subjected to a hold at the port of entry. This can occur if the information provided in the ISF is incomplete or inaccurate. A port hold can further delay the processing and clearance of your goods, potentially disrupting your supply chain and causing financial losses.

Carrier Holds

In some cases, carriers may also place a hold on your cargo if the ISF is not in compliance. This can happen when the carrier identifies discrepancies or errors in the submitted information. If your cargo is subjected to a carrier hold, it will not be loaded onto the vessel until the ISF issues have been addressed. This can lead to significant delays in shipping and potentially result in missed delivery deadlines.

What Happens If The ISF Doesnt Include The Voyage Number?

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Penalties and Fines

Non-compliance with the ISF requirements can also result in penalties and fines imposed by the relevant authorities. These monetary consequences can vary depending on the severity of the violation and the number of times you have been found in violation.

Monetary Penalties

One of the most immediate consequences of non-compliance is the imposition of monetary penalties. These fines can be substantial and can significantly impact your bottom line. The amount of the penalty will depend on the severity of the violation and can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Loss of Privileges

Repeated non-compliance with the ISF requirements can lead to the loss of certain privileges. This can include the loss of expedited processing, preferential treatment, or eligibility for certain trade programs. Losing these privileges can have a significant impact on your ability to conduct international trade efficiently and competitively.

Repeat Offender Consequences

If you are a repeat offender and continue to disregard the ISF requirements, the consequences can become more severe. In addition to increased fines, you may be subject to heightened scrutiny, more frequent inspections, and greater difficulties in obtaining clearance for your goods. These consequences can severely impact your business operations and reputation.

Loss of Security

Another potential consequence of non-compliance with the ISF requirements is the loss of security for your cargo. This can occur in several ways, including unknown cargo, increased risk, and unauthorized access.

Unknown Cargo

If the information provided in the ISF is inaccurate or incomplete, there is a risk that the cargo being transported may be unknown. This can raise concerns for security officials who rely on accurate information to assess potential risks. Unknown cargo can lead to heightened scrutiny, delays, and increased costs as authorities work to determine the nature of the shipment.

Increased Risk

Non-compliance with the ISF requirements can also increase the risk associated with your cargo. Without accurate and timely information, it becomes more difficult for authorities to identify potential security threats. This can lead to greater vulnerabilities in the supply chain and increase the risk of illegal activities such as smuggling or terrorism.

Unauthorized Access

Inaccurate or incomplete information in the ISF can potentially provide an opportunity for unauthorized access to your cargo. If security officials are unable to properly assess the contents and nature of the shipment, it becomes easier for individuals with malicious intent to exploit vulnerabilities in the system. Unauthorized access can result in theft, tampering, or other security breaches, putting your cargo and your business at risk.

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Increased Customs Scrutiny

Failure to comply with the ISF requirements can also lead to increased scrutiny by customs authorities. This means that your cargo may undergo additional inspections, screenings, or document reviews, resulting in further delays and potential complications.

Full Examination

If your ISF is not in compliance, customs authorities may choose to subject your cargo to a full examination. This involves a thorough inspection of the shipment to verify its contents and ensure compliance with applicable regulations. Full examinations can be time-consuming and may result in an extended hold period for your cargo.

Cargo Screening

Non-compliance with the ISF requirements can also trigger increased cargo screening measures. This can include physical inspections, x-ray scanning, or other security checks to ensure that the cargo does not pose a threat to national security. Increased cargo screening can lead to additional costs, delays, and potential damage to your goods.

Documentation Review

Customs authorities may also focus on reviewing the documentation associated with your cargo if the ISF is not in compliance. This can involve an in-depth analysis of the provided paperwork, such as commercial invoices, packing lists, and bills of lading. Documentation reviews can further delay the processing of your goods and may result in additional requests for information or clarification.

ISF Overview

To better understand the potential consequences of non-compliance with the ISF requirements, it is important to have a clear understanding of what the ISF entails.


The Importer Security Filing, commonly known as ISF, is a mandatory filing requirement for all ocean shipments entering the United States. It requires importers or their agents to provide specific information about the cargo being imported, the parties involved in the transaction, and other relevant details.


The ISF is a critical component of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) risk assessment process. It allows authorities to evaluate potential security risks associated with incoming cargo and take appropriate measures to mitigate those risks. Compliance with the ISF requirements is essential for maintaining the integrity and security of the global supply chain.

ISF Requirements

To comply with the ISF requirements, importers or their agents must submit the necessary information to CBP at least 24 hours before the cargo is loaded onto the vessel bound for the United States. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in severe consequences, as outlined in the earlier sections of this article.

The Voyage Number

One specific requirement of the ISF that deserves special attention is the inclusion of the voyage number. This number plays a crucial role in the identification and tracking of the cargo being transported.


The voyage number is used to link the ISF to the specific vessel voyage associated with the shipment. By including the voyage number in the ISF, customs authorities can easily identify and monitor the progress of the cargo as it moves through the shipping process.

Required Information

When filing the ISF, it is important to provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding the voyage number. This includes details such as the vessel name, the carrier code, and the estimated arrival date of the vessel at the U.S. port of entry. Failure to include the correct voyage number or providing incorrect information can result in significant consequences, as discussed earlier in this article.

Consequences of Missing Voyage Number

If the ISF does not include the voyage number or if the provided information is incorrect, your cargo may be subject to holds, delays, penalties, and increased customs scrutiny. The absence of the voyage number makes it difficult for authorities to identify and track the cargo effectively, compromising the security and integrity of the supply chain.


Compliance with the ISF requirements is crucial to avoid the potential consequences discussed in this article. Ensuring accurate and timely information in the ISF is essential for maintaining the efficiency, security, and integrity of the global supply chain. By understanding the importance of ISF compliance and taking the necessary steps to meet the requirements, you can avoid significant delays, penalties, and other potential complications. Don’t underestimate the importance of the ISF and its role in international trade – it’s better to be proactive and ensure compliance rather than face the consequences of non-compliance.

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