AT-CET Exams on Refrigerated Containers


CBP has notified us of a change on the CES designation for AT-CET exams for cargo in refrigerated containers. Those enforcement exams will now be done at California Cartage.

AT-CET exams are enforcement exams driven from the manifest data and are not entry driven compli-ance exams.

When a container is designated for a “Manifest Hold” message that brokers see in ABI, this means that Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) will be done at the terminal (NII’s are also commonly called “VACIS Ex-ams”). CBP has committed to completing the NII with 48 hours of the carrier contacting them for an appoint-ment, but generally CBP has been completing the NII exams within 24 hours of the notification from the termi-nal. (“Manifest Hold” messages should not be confused with “Manifest Hold- Agriculture” messages.)

When you have a “Manifest Hold” that is still open in ABI on cargo for more than 48 hours from when the cargo was unloaded from the ship, you can expect that the container has been designated for a CET ex-am. All dry containers will still be designated for CET exam at Price Transfer and you should be able to track the containers with Price. All refrigerated containers will be designated for CET Exam at California Cartage and you should be able to track the containers with Cal Cartage.

If you want to be sure that your container is designated for an AT-CET exam, you can contact the terminal after 48 hours from unloading to ask if the NII was completed. If it was completed and the container is still on manifest hold, then you can assume that the container is designated for one of the CES’s as described above.

However, CBP did remind us that the Port Director can always designate another CES that is equipped with cold storage facilities for these exams, but that is rare. Brokers that have a question on where a reefer container has been designated for a CET exam can call the AT-CET office at (310) 971-2244.

Contributed by Daniel Meylor, Chair of Seaport CBP Committee.