CBP and proprietor responsibility and supervision over warehouses.
(a) Customs supervision.
The character and extent of Customs supervision to be exercised in connection with any warehouse facility or transaction provided for in this part shall be in accordance with § 101.2(c) of this chapter. Independent of any need to appraise or classify merchandise, the port director may authorize a Customs officer to supervise any transaction or procedure at the bonded warehouse facility. Such supervision may be performed through periodic audits of the warehouse proprietor's records, quantity counts of goods in warehouse inventories, spot checks of selected warehouse transactions or procedures or reviews of conditions of recordkeeping, storage, security, or safety in a warehouse facility.
(b) Proprietor responsibility and supervision—
The proprietor shall supervise all transportation, receipts, deliveries, sampling, recordkeeping, repacking, manipulation, destruction, physical and procedural security, conditions of storage, and safety in the warehouse as required by law and regulations. Supervision by the proprietor shall be that which a prudent manager of a storage and manipulation facility would be expected to exercise.
(2) Customs access.
The warehouse proprietor shall permit access to the warehouse and present merchandise within a reasonable time after request by any Customs officer.
(3) Safekeeping of merchandise and records.
The proprietor is responsible for safekeeping of merchandise and records concerning merchandise entered in Customs bonded warehouses. The proprietor or his employees shall safeguard and shall not disclose proprietary information contained in or on related documents to anyone other than the importer, importer's transferee, or owner of the merchandise to whom the document relates or their authorized agent.
(4) Records maintenance—
The proprietor shall:
Maintain the inventory control and recordkeeping system in accordance with the provisions of § 19.12 of this part ;
Retain all records required in this part and defined in § 163.1(a) of this chapter, pertaining to bonded merchandise for 5 years after the date of the final withdrawal under the entry; and
Protect proprietary information in its custody from unauthorized disclosure.
Records shall be readily available for Customs review at the warehouse. In addition, a proprietor may keep records at another location for Customs review, but only if the proprietor first receives written approval for such storage from the port director.
(5) Record retention in lieu of originals.
A warehouse proprietor may, in accordance with § 163.5 of this chapter, utilize alternative storage methods in lieu of maintaining records in their original formats.
(6) Warehouse and merchandise security.
The warehouse proprietor shall maintain the warehouse facility in a safe and sanitary condition and establish procedures adequate to ensure the security of all merchandise under Customs custody stored in the facility. The warehouse construction will be a factor that will be considered by the port director in deciding whether to approve the application. The facility shall be built in such a manner as to render it impossible for unauthorized personnel to enter the premises without such violence as to make the entry easy to detect. If a portion of the facility is to be used for the storage of non-bonded merchandise, the port director shall designate the means for effective separation of the bonded and non-bonded merchandise, such as a wall, fence, or painted line. All inlets and outlets to bonded tanks shall be secured with locks and/or in-bond seals.
(7) Storage conditions.
Merchandise in the bonded area shall be stored in a safe and sanitary manner to minimize damage to the merchandise, avoid hazards to persons, and meet local, state, and Federal requirements applicable to specific kinds of goods. Doors and entrances shall be left unblocked for access by Customs officers and warehouse proprietor personnel.
(8) Manner of storage.
Packages shall be received in the warehouse and recorded in the proprietor's inventory and accounting records according to their marks and numbers. Packages containing weighable or gaugeable merchandise not bearing shipping marks and numbers shall be received under the weigher's or gauger's numbers. Packages with exceptions due to damage or loss of contents, or not identical as to quantity or quality of contents shall be stored separately until the discrepancy is resolved with Customs. Merchandise received in the warehouse shall be stored in a manner directly identifying the merchandise with the entry, general order, or seizure number; using a unique identifier for inventory categories composed of fungible merchandise accounted for on a First-In-First-Out (FIFO) basis; or using a unique identifier for inventory categories composed of fungible merchandise accounted for using another approved alternative inventory method.
(i) Direct identification.
The warehouse proprietor shall mark all shipments for identification, showing the general order or warehouse entry number or seizure number and the date of the general order, entry, or delivery ticket in the case of seizures. Containers covered by a given warehouse entry, general order or seizure shall not be mixed with goods covered by any other entry, general order or seizure. Merchandise covered by a given warehouse entry, general order or seizure may be stored in multiple locations within the warehouse if the proprietor's inventory control system specifically identifies all locations where merchandise for each entry, general order or seizure is stored and the quantity in each location. The proprietor must provide, upon request by a Customs officer, a record balance of goods, specifying the quantity in each storage location, covered by any warehouse entry, general order, or seizure so a physical count can be made to verify the accuracy of the record balance.
A proprietor may account for fungible merchandise on a First-In-First-Out (FIFO) basis instead of specific identification by warehouse entry number, provided the merchandise meets the criteria for fungibility and the recordkeeping requirements contained in § 19.12 of this part are met. As of the beginning date of FIFO procedures, each kind of fungible merchandise in the warehouse under FIFO shall constitute a separate inventory category. Each inventory category shall be assigned a unique number or other identifier by the proprietor to distinguish it from all other inventory categories under FIFO. All of the merchandise in a given inventory category shall be physically placed so as to be segregated from merchandise under other inventory categories or merchandise accounted for under other inventory methods. The unique identifier shall be marked on the merchandise, its container, or the location where it is stored so as to clearly show the inventory category of each article under FIFO procedures. Merchandise covered by a given unique identifier may be stored in multiple locations within the warehouse if the proprietor's inventory control system specifically identifies all locations where merchandise for a specific unique identifier is stored and the quantity in each location. The proprietor must provide, upon request by a Customs officer, a record balance of goods, specifying the quantity in each storage location, covered by any warehouse entry, general order, seizure, or unique identifier so a physical count can be made to verify the accuracy of the record balance.
(iii) Other alternative inventory methods.
Other alternative inventory systems may be used, if CBP approval is obtained. Importers or proprietors who wish to use an alternative inventory method other than FIFO must apply to CBP Headquarters, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, for approval.
(9) Miscellaneous responsibilities.
The proprietor is responsible for complying with requirements for transport to his warehouse, deposit, manipulation, manufacture, destruction, shortage or overage, inventory control and recordkeeping systems, and other requirements as specified in this part.
[T.D. 97-19, 62 FR 15834, Apr. 3, 1997, as amended by T.D. 98-22, 63 FR 11825, Mar. 11, 1998; T.D. 98-56, 63 FR 32944, June 16, 1998]