Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pays for damage to property when the damage was
caused by the wrongful or negligent act of any employee while acting within the scope of his or
her employment. However, the CBP acknowledges in its guidance that cargo is sometimes damaged
during the normal course of inspection, in order to ensure that goods are not being smuggled in,
and that various safety and other requirements for imported goods are being met. Damages will
not be covered if this is the case.
The determination as to who is responsible for the damage and whether it is eligible for a claims payment is solely within the discretion of the port direction, in consultation with CBP.
This is the flaw, in our opinion, in the process at the moment. There is no independent, objective entity to which a shipper can appeal for payments for damages during the inspection process. However, there can be no chance to even apply for damage payments unless the following steps are completed.